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Monday, November 11, 2013

Lost wallet? No, a miracle! "Kindness is the essence of greatness."

A cool Smart Car they only have in Europe
Liebe Familie!  I love you all so much!

This week was a great week, just like the rest.  It is hard to not have a great week out here in Freiburg.  It is possible to have a hard day, maybe a hard two days, but it seems that every week ends up great!  Of course I learned from an African man at a bus stop that the secret to being happy and having a great week, is hope.  He said that the African people carry a hope in their heart for tomorrow.  They believe that tomorrow can be better and so with that hope, they are able to be happy today.  We are meeting with him soon, he was super cool!

Biking trip for pday last week!  What a blast!

Yummy cake and pumpkin soup we had at the bakery in Kirchzarten
So look at the world news, now back at me, now back at the news, now back at me.  Ah, you must think that the world is a pretty rough place.  Full of böse (evil) people who just want to tear each other apart.  Well let me tell ya something, turn off the television and step outside! Why am I beginning on such a random tangent?  The other day we looked down the street and saw the Straßenbahn (streetcar) coming.  We put our legs in high gear and started booking it like usual.  We made the Straßenbahn with enough time to hold the door open for a cute little old lady.  Then we started moving forward.

All of a sudden we hear a ton of honking.  I sort of ignore it, but Sister Woods looks over and taps me on the shoulder.  We see a man with his window rolled down beckoning at us.  The Straßenbahn stops at the next Haltestelle (stop) and we step outside as he hands me my wallet out his window.  This man saw my wallet fall out of my bag, got out of his car, picked it up, hopped back in his car, and followed us to give it back to me.  That wallet had all of my MSF fund, my VISA, and all of my credit cards.  I learned two things, not to keep my wallet in that pocket anymore.  But the more important thing I learned is that a simple act of kindness can inspire multitudes of people.  We got back on the Straßenbahn and all of a sudden EVERYONE wanted to talk to us.  Everyone started talking about how nice that was of that man, and how people like that really are still out there today.  This man got a Straßenbahn full of Europeans talking to each other about a Gospel principle.   To echo the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Kindness is the essence of greatness."

"I love University of Freiburg I may want to study here for a semester."

I've been thinking a lot about Jesus Christ.  Natürlich.  I've been thinking about how smart he was, but how we know that he came to his knowledge grace by grace.  Christ taught in parables so that all could understand, but to teach in parables, he had to understand what it was he was talking about.  For example, to teach about a shepherd rescuing the one sheep, you first need to know what a shepherd is and what he does.  Before Christ ever taught in parables, he first had to learn.  That got me thinking about how much I am learning here as a missionary, and more importantly, how I am learning.  This then made me think of N and P.

The twins with a member at Stake Conference 

P was just a name in the phone that we decided to call up and meet with.  She seemed really nice because she scheduled an appointment immediately.  Phone calls like that just make a day really good.  We had our first meeting with her this last week and let me tell you all about it.

We go in and we see the sweetest looking Indian lady.  Behind her we see an African man with the biggest smile an African can muster.  She invites us in and we sit down.  She then brings out home made muffins and cookies and warms up some water to have warm apple cider.  We start all talking, we have no idea if they have met with the missionaries before, or anything about them.  So we just start listening and learning about them.  He's from Rwanda and she is from India.  They met while he was at university in India and they now live in Freiburg as  he finishes up his Doctorate, which he just defended his thesis for last week.  

We just started talking about God, naturally, we are missionaries.  They ask the coolest questions, and we all talk about our Savior and how much He loves us.  They ask us of our conversion to the Gospel and what it means for us, etc.  Just really great questions, it was so cool!  We then ask them the same question, as they are very devout 7th day Adventists.  Nepo starts sharing stories of how he questioned, and studied, and then searched for which church to join.  Eventually he was led to the 7th day Adventist church and he shared the coolest story.

Moved the couches to create a comfy study space!

When he was at University in India, they had a system for these big university exams.  There were basically two of them a semester, and you had to take a total of 8 or so to finish the university.  They were always offered on Saturday, and they sort of rolled over so you could pretty much wait to take them.  N didn't know what to do, because Saturday is his sabbath.  He didn't take the exams but it got to a point where he had to make a decision, as the exams had to be completed.  N didn't know what to do.  Because he was on scholarship from the government in Rwanda, if he failed at school, he would return home and be punished.  But he had made a decision already that he would honor God and remain true to his beliefs no matter the consequence.  He and his friend decided they would talk to the Chancellor of their school.

The Chancellor showed empathy but he let them know that he had no power over the exams.  Because the college was one of many who operated underneath the wing of the University, there was nothing the small school could do to change the days.  N and his friend decided they would drive up to the main University and see if they could talk to someone there.  After driving two hours, they came to the office of the main Chancellor and to their dismay saw about 40 people outside the door and a sign that says the president would love to speak with you, if you have an appointment.  

But, they didn't let their doubts overcome their faith.  They went to a corner in a different hall and prayed that God would let them be able to talk to the chancellor.  They didn't know how, but they knew he could do it. They then went back and talked to the secretary.  She told them to wait a little bit.  Then, a few moments later, they were the next ones called in!  They talked to the Chancellor and he understood their concerns, but told them that to switch the exam date, he would have to propose it at a meeting with all of the dozens of smaller university chancellors and they would have to come to an agreement.  Not only would it take time, it could be impossible.

N was told that at his college they would let him know the result.  A few weeks later, he found out that the entire group that operated under this system changed the exam structure so it could be taken on other days.  Not only is this a miracle because it happened so swiftly, but P then explained to us that in the Indian culture, to be able to change something so set in stone for so long as that rule,  is impossible.  And yet God made it happen.

N then closed by saying, "If you stand for God, he stands for you."
With District Elders on the bus to Stake Conference- "I love these elders so much!"

I can't believe how blessed I am to be here and to be a missionary.  The things I learn every day just blow my mind.  There is so much knowledge out there in the world, we just have to be open to learn it.  We need to be open to questions, to challenging ourselves and to asking.  We need to hear the voices of those around us, because if we truly listen, God will highlight the truth in whichever form it takes.  He will lead us to people who share stories we would have never heard in other ways.  He will lead us to books to read which will teach us truths we have never been exposed to.

With Elder Kelly, who Elder Root trained!

It blows my mind that people see the Book of Mormon and automatically dismiss it.  Hand me a Jehovah's Witness Bible, I'll read it.  Have an atheist tell me why he doesn't believe in God, I'll listen to him.  This life is about acquiring knowledge, as all knowledge, all truth comes from God.  So why reject an opportunity to acquire more knowledge?  If the Book of Mormon isn't true, your great aunt Anabelle will still make that fruit cake, the oil will still changed tomorrow, you will still have that birthday cake for Jonny to make.  

But I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  It is just more truth, more light to illuminate us!  How exciting!  How wonderful that we get so much truth in such a concentrated form!  Now instead of Aunt Anabelle making a fruit cake every year until she dies, you get to be sealed to her and eat that fruit cake for eternity!  Now instead of the oil being a chore to overcome, you realize god has given you the ability to change oil so you can help old man Jenkins down the street change his!  Now you get to teach Jonny that in 10 more birthdays, he'll be able to serve a mission, share the Book of Mormon with others, and go change his world!  The Book of Mormon and the truth that it illuminates dispels the fog and helps us see life in a more brilliant way!
"I finally had some yummy milk!"

That is why I am so excited about P and N.  I am not trying to change their religion, I am not trying to make them Mormon.  I am just inviting them to come closer to Christ, to receive all of the restored principles that complete our collection of truth.  I am so excited for them as they receive these truths Schritt für Schritt, piece by piece.  Being a missionary is Wunderschön!

I am so happy to be here, to just love these people in Freiburg.  I can't believe I ever thought I didn't want to come here (to the Alpine German-speaking Mission)!  These people are phenomenal, they are so loved by their Father in Heaven.  Now it's just my job to give them a few pointers to help them see it!  I can't wait for the day when all of these people here, these people I love so much, understand who they truly are.  I just really love them, I really do.
With a child in the ward at an activity
 I also love all of you.  I am so grateful for your prayers, support, and letters.  I love you all so much, every person back at home.  I think about you and I pray for you constantly.  You are all so special to me, and so special to our Father in Heaven.  I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Because you deserve it!  And remember, if your day seems pretty hard and you aren't feeling to great, just let your heart be filled with the hope that tomorrow brings.

I love you all so much.  More than you know.

Sister Henry
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More photos!
Sister Woods' 9 month "birthday"

We both had candles =)
The mountains in the distance are France!

Sis Henry creeping on the Weeping Angel--such a total Sherry face!

This statuary on the U of Freiburg campus truly is profound


Random pictures at an S-bahn stop.

Elder Stuart sleeping in Conference, tehe.

Elder Davies creeping on sleeping Elder Packer


  1. I would totally want Sister Henry to teach my non members friends…gee, I would want her to teach me. I LOVE LOVE her enthusiasm for this work and her devotion to the Savior. Wow.

  2. Loved the letter Sister H.! Missionary work is the best thing in the world..especially when you can do it full time! What a blessing you are to the Lord and His children!


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