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Monday, August 19, 2013

"The Singing Missionary" and a miracle!




Beautiful Freiburg!!!
"Make sure Rachel Zwingli Christensen sees this picture, my water bottle is SWISS!"
Exchanges with Sister Allman at the Boden See

Sherry leaving the apartment this morning

Sister Peterson this morning looking so pretty

Pretty sure this statue is saying GO DUCKS!!!!

Mommy!
     If I come home having gained 30 pounds, it will have been 30 pounds of chocolate. Not a week goes by that I don't get at least one chocolate candy bar. I eat a piece of chocolate in the morning to get me going, I make sure to eat a piece at night to reward myself, and I eat pieces in between because I am a woman and I can. You'll understand why I can't put down the chocolate bars in about...hmmm...3 weeks?
     Oh, I withdrew 50 Euros today. So make sure the bank doesn't freak out. Oh and I used my credit card one time trying to withdraw money because I thought it was my mission card. Both are US Bank. It obviously didn't work but I want to make sure that the bank doesn't think someone is trying to steal from us.
     Okay, for the real stuff.
     Everyone has been saying I write good E-mails but now I am worried this one is going to stink because the pressure is on! But I will just write the things of my heart and first and foremost that is Frau Smith (name changed).
     I don't know if I have mentioned her before. She is an investigator who has been investigating the church since 2009. She is 56 years old but she is not a typical investigator. This woman has had some very very Böse or evil and horrible things happen to her in her past. She has the darkest past I could ever imagine, and because of that, she still struggles even today. She doesn't open the window to her Wohnung. She doesn't answer the door unless she knows someone is supposed to come.
     It was my first time meeting with her this week, and her apartment was like stepping into a chimney it was so full of cigarette smoke. But when I saw this woman across the table from Sister Peterson and I, I just couldn't help but feel like if anyone in this world needed the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this woman did. Sister Peterson and I had made a pact not to let her lesson fall into the trap of her dwelling on the terrible things in her life. We decided that we would flood happiness, gratitude, and light into this lesson. And so we did! We sang there is sunshine in my soul today and we went around in a circle saying reasons why we love Frau Smith and having her say things she loved about her life.
      I don't think you can comprehend the anguish in this woman, Mom. She is someone who, when you look at her, you think that she will only find happiness in the life after this. That things too terrible have happened to make this life of any worth. Here's a woman who thinks she just needs to cease to exist. And yet at the end of that lesson she was smiling, she laughed, she had seen light! Mom, Sister Peterson and I had the opportunity of shining the light of Christ to a woman sunk into the shadows! How lucky am I! I am so blessed to be a missionary!
     But that isn't the best part. We were getting on the bus to go to church on Sunday and who do we see cross the street, but Frau Smith. This woman doesn't leave her apartment. She doesn't talk to others. And yet there she was, wearing a white shirt, white capris, and a white necklace. I can't tell you how utterly shocked Sister Peterson and I were. We hadn't extended a commitment to come to church, we hadn't even thought of it! I mean, it had been 3 years since she stepped into a church building.
     But this is where members come in. Schwester M is a woman in our ward who had called up Frau Smith (They know each other from before) and invited her to church. Because of the work and fellowship of members, Frau Smith came ON HER OWN. You, as members of the church, are the key to letting missionary work explode all over the world! We can't do it without the members!
     As I watched Frau Smith shake the hands of the Men in the church building, and watched her hug complete strangers and listen to the lessons, I was so grateful. So absolutely grateful for this light and this Gospel. This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about. It is about extending this love, this light, to those who need it. The love of Christ reaches those who are furthest in the shadows, those who we think are so fallen in the pit of despair that they will never climb out. This is why we have the Gospel! It is for people like Frau Smith! Don't ever think that someone has fallen so far that the love of God cannot reach them and bring them to the light. Don't ever think that you are not loved and that you cannot have that joy.
     Everything else this week seems grey in comparison to the miracle that happened yesterday. But there are small miracles and blessings every day that I get to enjoy!
      There is a picture of me with Sister Allman and I at the Boden See! I went on my first Austauch in Singen and it was a total blast! I had so much fun, I like to explain it as a working vacation. You still work just as hard, but since you are in a new town, you feel like you are traveling and a visitor. It's just the best. Oh and I love contacting! I love dooring, but here it is a little different. We buzz to their apartment and then talk over the Klingle and then they let us in. So not quite as scary as knocking on doors.



 
     Oh, and you could call me the singing missionary because I love to sing to myself as I walk around! The song that I call the theme to my mission is from the Muppets movie. It's the one at the beginning that says, "Everything is great, everything is grand. I've got a Book of Mormon here in my hand. Everything is perfect, it's falling into place. I can't seem to wipe this smile off my face. Life's a happy song when you've got someone by your side to sing a long....I've got everything that I need! Right in front of me....etc. etc." (She mentioned in our chat this morning that she was able to sing for her zone conference this week and will be singing in Sacrament Meeting soon).
     I sing it so much that Sister Peterson has started singing it too. Muahaha! Oh and "Oh what a beautiful morning" from Oklahoma. I love singing that song. OH! Bringing the speakers and Ipod were the best idea ever. I am so grateful for Music! If I didn't have the speakers, I would never be able to listen to music and I think I would be struggling a lot more.
     I am just so happy. I can't help but sing and smile as I walk around this beautiful City. No matter what happens on the mission, I will be able to go home knowing I said Hello to every person I walked past. No, seriously, I have probably said hello to the entire population of Freiburg by now. And I smile and stare at them until they smile back at me. I love these people so much!
     Oh and as far as the German, it is coming slowly but surely. I can't really see my progression, but Sister Peterson says I'm making some, so I will take her word for it.
I LOVE GERMANY!
     Oh and one last quirky thing. So there is an Evangelisch Kirche and Convent across the street from our Wohnung and every morning at 8 the bells ring. That is also when we begin study. So with their bells they are really calling the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to prepare to bring to them the Gospel!
     I love this people and I love this work. I can't believe how blessed and fortunate I am to wake up in Freiburg every day and know I get to spend the day bringing this Glück that I have to this people. Mom, I couldn't be in a better place. I love it so much. I love you so much. And I love our Father in Heaven so much. I am so grateful for this life and for this world. I only hope I can spend the rest of my days here doing what I am doing now, helping others find their way back to true happiness.





Oh, and pictures. So there is one of me on a tower overlooking Freiburg and surrounding areas. It's pretty cool. We went there for a District P-Day. I have the best district in the world. Elder Stricklin is awesome, he just brings a smile to everyone's face. Elder Sumsion is only 2 transfers into his mission, but he works like he's been here for years. Elder Steed is awesome, he's older into the mission and has a lot of experience. And then Elder Davies is our district leader and he is seriously our hero. This Elder is the best missionary I think I could ever meet. He sets such a good example, I can't even begin to explain. I just hope that when Spencer goes on his mission, he will be exactly like Elder Davies. Our District is super close and it's just great. We do things together all the time and we all feel like really great friends united in a love for this people. I couldn't ask for a better area to come in to.  
     My Waterbottle is Swiss, make sure Rachel Zwingli knows! The pictures of the chapel are our meetinghouse. It's HUGE! Oh and I took a picture of Sister Peterson cooking me food. She takes care of me :)



From her companion Sister Peterson:
Guten Morgen Mama Henry!
First off, I want to tell you how awesome of a mother you are! Sister Henry talks about you all the time, and I can tell she really loves and admires you. But I'm sure you knew that already :P
The other way I know that you are a good mother is because you have raised an AMAZING daughter. I am completely blown away by Sister Henry's talents as a missionary and a daughter of God. I have only worked with two other companions so far, but  I would say that as a companionship, we work more in unity than I have with my previous companions (which is saying something, because I love Sister Jenson and Regnier to DEATH!) Her love and excitement for the gospel is so contagious, and it bleeds into every aspect of the work: her love for the people, for the area, for the ward, the work, and for me as a her companion. I know that we like to tease about us being young giggle 'twin Sisters', but I have also never seen this work go faster here in Freiburg than I have since your daughter got here. She is going to do great things on her mission!
I hope everything is going well for you and your family in Washington. Have a good week!
Tschüß!
-Sister Peterson

She is cooking me food!
Sis Henry....talking or singing haha
Sis Peterson in the chapel

View from her window

Emailing this morning

2 comments:

  1. Way to go Sister Henry !!! Your blog makes me miss being out there serving on a mission. We are serving at home now in the Ogden wet pack cannery. We are glad to be missionaries again serving Heavenly Fathers children in a different way. Keep up the great work.
    Love aunt Bonnie

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  2. Lisa, I knew you would have tons of information & photos! Haha I hope Our missionaries get to serve in the same ward or district, it will help me get more information! :-). I'm so pleased she's so happy serving. Loved the message fm her companion. It is a blessing to see your daughter through someone else's eyes!

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