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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.
Love,
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!
Love,
Sis

 
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!

Love,
Sher

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!

Love,
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!

love,
Sher Bear

Monday, November 10, 2014

Swiss #missionaryproblems

Sister Henry in Liechtenstein, the fifth of the five countries of her mission 
With Sis Lee and Sis Kutschke at one of Liechtenstein's castles

Sister Lee sent this photo, during an Austellung they met these awesome musicians from Ecuador and Peru and visited with them. Sis Lee bought their CD!
See you later visit with Oma <3 
So I am not sure if I have said this before but my favorite FAVORITE chocolate bar is just the normal generic chocolate from Migros.  Migros is the huge grocery store in Switzerland, and we had one in Freiburg.  We would always buy our chocolate there, I even sent you some last year I am pretty sure. Anyways, I told the Konstanz Elders if they are ever down at Migros to pick me up some.
On Tuesday at District meeting Elder Sanft gave us two bars, one with chocolate hazelnut and then the other one was a cool chocolate truffle bar.  Elder Sanft pointed to the latter and said that that was his favorite.  I decided to take the hazelnut one and Sister Kutschke the other one.
The next day or so we were sitting at our desks eating our chocolate.  Sister Kutschke looks to me and says, "This chocolate tastes a little funny."  (I am sure Uh-oh just went through your mind).  I ask her if she looked to see if there is alkohol and she replied that she had read the ingredient list and saw none.  I looked it over and we agreed we couldn't find any alkohol.  So we assumed maybe it was just the cherry flavoring tastes weird.
I decided to taste a stuck and thought, okay, this is DEFINITELY not cherry flavoring.  We look on the back again and in the tiny little corner it said "Includes Alcohol."  Gosh dangit!  We were a little astonished..and then started busting up laughing because the ELDERS had given it to us!

We called up Konstanz and asked how much of that chocolate they ate.  They said they liked to split the bar between them.  It was pretty funny when we explained to them that there was alcohol in the chocolate.  If I were on twitter I would totally write #missionaryproblems right now.
But in reality it was a really great, slightly crazy, week.  Actually, I look to the next few weeks and they all seem like they will be really great and slightly crazy.  But that is just the life of a missionary anyways!
But I had a really cool study experience this week!  I was reading forward in the Old Testament (Have I said lately how much I absolutely LOVE the Old Testament) in Nehemiah and something really impressed me.  There is a point in Chapter 9 where the priests are recounting the goodness of God and praising him and they recall the story of the Children of Israel as they leave Egypt.  They say,
Yet thou in thy manfold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: The pillar of cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
I was just so impressed because God, he is God.  He could have directed the children of Israel however he wanted to.  But He decided to lead them in a way that the Children of Israel could always recognize that he was leading them.  He loved them so much that he let them see his hand in their lives and made himself as visible as he could while still respecting their agency and faith. 
I feel like it is totally the same in our lives, you know?  God wants to lead us and guide us and direct us.  I think about how all I can really see ahead right now is about 3 months.  I have no idea what is going to happen after I get back into the groove of school.  It's not like my mission where for 18 months I knew pretty much about what I would be doing every day of the week.  

But that's okay because God will never hide himself from us!  With faith it is impossible for him to do so.  Because if we have faith we can look at a beautiful sunset and see him, or look at that tiny flower plant in the window and see him, or read a verse of scripture and in a way see him.  So, even though life is unknown most of the time, we don't need to fear because his pillar of cloud or pillar of fire is ALWAYS lighting our way.
Actually that is one of the reasons I love the Old Testament.  I feel like the underlying theme is, "Be strong and courageous."  God loves us, he wants us to find him and come back to him.  We just have to open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to him.  But I know he is there.
Man, MISSIONS ARE THE BEST!  Go on one!

MLC was a lot of fun, and Sister Winters and I chatted and got excited to live together :)  I am excited for school again, I feel like it will be the next adventure!  Especially because I have no idea what will happen after this semester.
I just love my mission so much.  I know everything is going to be okay in life, you know?  I cried a little bit at Mission Leadership Council because I just sat there thinking about how much I love my mission.  I am just so grateful for it that I get emotional thinking about it.  Can you imagine if I hadn't gone?  I will probably be sad when I get home, but just a happy sad because I am so grateful this all has happened.
 

 Oh we had 3 investigators give testimonies in church yesterday! It was African Sunday, we are totally going to have to open up an English branch.  It's pretty fun.
Oh yeah, Liechtenstein was cool :)  It was just good to be in my Alps again.  Actually, when we were driving back from Munich I looked over at the Alps and just got that gratitude again.  I think the Alps will always be a very special reminder to me about these 18 months.
Love,
Sister Henry

Soon to be roommate Sister Winters! 

Goodbye Partying at Oma Sister Voigt's house =)


Elder Bartholomew was on exchanges with Elder Allan, they are all taking German together this semester it sounds like

Music down the lane at the street display on Saturday! 

Mission Leadership Council


Monday, November 3, 2014

Fish Eyes!

Meet the new Resident Assistant at the FLSR (she will live in the German House) at BYU! (the one in lederhosen)

Sister Henry with good friend Elder Mohn! An awesome missionary who knows how to work hard with JOY!

Elder Sanft, a good friend from Konstanz, and Sister Henry who looks very short and very white haha
So one of our investigators is from Nigeria and promised to cook for us this week.  Africans seriously cook some of the best food.  He made us some rice with chicken and fish and some other stuff in it.  Well, Africans just sort of throw in the whole chicken wing or the whole fish into the rice, they don't pull out the bones or anything.  I was the lucky one to get the scoop with the fish's head in it!

Now as I was looking at this cooked fish head I thought to myself, "I only have five weeks to do make crazy mission stories" and therefore dug right in.  Eventually I got to a brown squishy part, honestly I think it was the fish's brains.  It could have been the gills, too, though.  Then, working my way up the head I realized that the fish still had both eyes!  The Konstanz elders were with us and I looked over to Elder Sanft (he is Tongan) who said, "It's just like the Islands.  You can eat the eyes too!"  So I did it!  Check it out world, Sister Henry ate for the first time in her life not one, but TWO fish eyes!  It was awesome.  Didn't even taste bad!
I was trying to recognize a creepy German man story for Sister Bozzo this week when I realized that I don't think I even recognize when old men are creepy because I have gotten so used to it!  Seriously, I mean we get cute little, kinda creepy compliments from old men all the time.  But something that did happen this week is Sister Kutschke got trapped by an old man in the train who didn't stop talking the entire fifteen minutes about how he was tortured in his childhood orphanage.  Yeah, if I were a better companion I would have rescued her.  But I am not so I just sat there laughing at how hard Sister Kutschke was trying to somehow politely leave the conversation.  He was nice, though.  Just a little bit on the loony side.
So let me share with you something really cool about Singen.  You know, sometimes I think as members of the church we see people come in with the missionaries to investigate the church and we kinda of put them in a category.  Okay, this person will be a contributor, they will be a rock solid addition to the ward!  Yeah!  We love them!  And then sometimes we are naturally a little hesitant and think, "yeah, that person is probably just coming to get money or food.  We'll see if they're still there by this time next year." 

i don't think we mean to be judgmental at all.  We are just human, all of us, and naturally we have to discern the needs and in a way make a judgment when we interact with others.  But sometimes as a missionary you can get a little frustrated when you feel like your ward or branch is  sort of rejecting your investigator. 

Well I will tell you why this little Singen branch is defying the norm and is just a little fire here in Southern Baden-Wurttemberg.  I was talking with our branch president and he mentioned that in their last branch presidency meeting they talked about 3 Nephi 17:6-9 and that no matter what, everyone is welcome into our branch.  Everyone is welcome into the church. 

The verse says:

6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
 7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
 8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
 9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
I just thought that that was so cool.  I feel like that scripture really echoes the heart of a true christian mindset.  Everyone is welcome to come unto Him.  I would much rather get in trouble after this life for having too much hope in people's ability to change than getting in trouble for having too little.
I just was so impressed.  So impressed!
The gospel is good, it is for everyone.  It is the only thing in this world that is truly one size fits all.  I just love being a missionary, I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I love simply being alive!  God really loves us, I know he does.  Even though sometimes it is hard to feel, he loves us.
I love you!

Love,

Sister Henry

Monday, October 27, 2014

To the tune of "the final countdown! "

Überlingen pday with Sis Kutschke and Oma
Dinner at Oma's house to say goodbye to Elder Mickelson


Baby its cold outside!
Yummy!
Meine Gute, I can not believe it, that I have made it to my last transfer on my mission!  Seriously, I just can't believe it. I am staying in Singen with Sister Kutschke!
I mean, even when I was filling out my papers, I wasn't sure if I would actually go on my mission.  I remember specifically feeling no direction on whether or not I was actually going to go, I only knew that filling out my mission papers was bringing me peace.  So I moved forward.

Then I somehow found myself reporting to the MTC, and even right before that, I had some second thoughts.  Would I really do this?  Would I really serve a mission?  Well, I knew that getting dropped off at the MTC would be the only thing that brought me peace, so I at least reported.
     I feel like it continually went forward like that.  Would I be able to make it to the end of my mission?  There were times where I honestly didn't know.  Oh my goodness there have been so many times I have wanted to quit.  I think only my companions really understand how many times I have wanted to throw in the towel, because they're the ones that were sitting there with me during those hard times.
     I would keep going for that day, for that month, but the thought of enduring to the end seemed so anstrengend!  I should know that word in English but it isn't coming to me right now.  (exhausting)
I definitely couldn't envision myself getting here because it seemed so far away.  But now I am here in my final transfer!  And I look back and I can't help but thank God for every single moment on my mission so far.  I really have no regrets, because every mistake or failure has also taught me.
     Honestly, I sort of have a philosophy that you really can't fail on your mission.  I compare it to like extra credit in a class at school.  If you mess up your extra credit, it doesn't hurt your grade.  But if you give it your all and do your best with your extra credit, then you definitely reap benefits.  I consider missions to be like spiritual extra credit.  Don't go on a mission, God isn't going to damn you, or punish you.  But you go on a mission, and you will experience a happiness far greater than anything any sort of school or degree or professor or person could offer you.

Man, missions are great.  Man, life is just great.  Man, GOD IS JUST GREAT!
     I just want to keep pressing forward for these last five weeks, and enjoy every moment.  I mean, I am almost finished with my training.  Pretty soon I am going to start the rest of my life, I better learn the lessons I am supposed to learn, the last preparations!

But seriously, there is only good and happiness ahead if we let ourselves make the good and happy choices.  I have been reading the Chronicles in the Old testament a lot lately and I just love the stories of the old Kings of Israel and Judah and their examples.  One I read about lately was king Hezekiah and I love his story.  There is a certain point in Chapter 32 where the Assyrians are coming against them, but Hezekiah just totally keeps his cool.  He does what he can to protect his people and then he tells them this:
Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the King of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: For there be more with us than with him:
With him is an arm of Flesh; But with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles.
     I just know with 100% certainty that if I stay on the Lord's side, I never need to fear.  God will always take care of us and always provide for us.  We always have reason to be strong and courageous. If we don't feel we have reason to be strong and courageous, then we need to get on our knees and pray.  Because I can promise that after we pray for that courage and strength, we will feel it.  Then we will be able to make it that next day or next week or next month until all of a sudden we realize that we have made it to our final transfer.  Even when we thought we would never be able to.
     I love my mission, and I love the Gospel.  There is so much happiness that is awaiting to greet us, we just have to do our part and find it.

I love you all so much!  The work goes forward, there are miracles happening here in Singen, in Costa Rica, and all over the world!

Love,
Sister Henry