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Monday, January 27, 2014

Who says Sisters aren't tough as nails?

Sister Garrett and Sister Henry in Salzburg!
Happy missionary in her new Christmas Austrian Trachten I sent her, she finally got it a month late

To whom it may concern:

Let it be known that this past week Sister Garrett and I rode our Bicycles from Germany to Austria....

in the snow......

in skirts.

Very few instances of my life have I felt so tough as then.  I actually felt almost as cool as an Austrian cop, but not quite.

"What's so special about an Austrian cop?" You ask.  See, when I first went to Germany I couldn't believe how stinking cool the policemen were.  Holy cow they are so ripped!

But then this last week Sister Garrett and I were on the bus when all of a sudden it stops at this gushing fountain of water.  We found that there had been an accident with a water pipe spilling into the street when some construction men were doing work.  The ambulance came first (don't worry, they ended up not taking anyone to the hospital) and they were pretty cool.  But then, the fire trucks came and these guys that look like they came straight out of Star Wars start spilling out and taping off the area.  Which, by the way, we were INSIDE the tape so we saw every thing that was going on.  The firemen were pretty sick, you could tell that they get work done.

But then the cops came.  Words cannot describe how stinking cool they area.  It made me want to just drop every thing and join the Austrian police academy.  It's one of those things that I could describe, but you would just have to see for yourself.

Let's just say, I don't plan on breaking the law any time soon.

I had the opportunity to go on Tausch this week with Sister Erdenetsogt and it was awesome!  We literally had nothing planned for the day that she was here, so we ended up just going by a ton of less actives.  At first I was worried that it would be boring or miserable for her, but I should have had no concern at all!  Sister Erdenetsogt is a champ!  We had so much fun!  We were just chatting with every body and let me tell you, that girl brings luck!  We found I think about 6 people that day that were willing to meet with us!

It was also just good to get around and see the city more.  I haven't had much opportunity to truly let myself fall in love with Salzburg, but that definitely helped!  There really is a special culture here, you can definitely tell why so many people want to travel and visit here!  I feel pretty lucky and honored that God would see me fit to work in such an amazing city.

The other cool thing is that we have really been working through part member families and less active members to teach investigators!  We have an investigator whose wife is a member that we've been working with for a while now.  He works at a resort about an hour away for 4 months, and then has 4 months off and lives here, and goes on and off like that.  Right now is his 4 months away so we have been doing skype lessons with him.  Yesterday we had one and he prayed for the first time! He is so awesome!  Their whole family is a blast.

(photo: Her amazing Aunt Heather remade Green Eggs and Ham into a German Book of Mormon version for Sis Henry's Christmas gift.  She loved it so much and said she read it over and over!)

I just can't help but feel like the people really ready to hear the gospel are right  in front of us, even listed on the ward directory some times!  Sometimes I ask myself, "Why would God send me a bunch of people to teach knocking on doors when I haven't even been taking care of the ones we already have?"

Oh, I have also become the unofficial go-to piano player for everything in our Ward.  There is one other woman who plays the piano and then also a man, so between the three of us we play for everything.  I find it so funny because for so many years I have thought I wasn't good enough and so would never tell anyone I could play the piano or play it really well.

Before I went on the mission I made a promise to myself that any time some one asked me to use a talent, even one I didn't think I really had, the first thing I would say is yes before I could think to say no.  Well it is turning into a tremendous blessing because as we have courage and are willing to use those gifts that God has given to us, he helps us make those gifts more useful and lets us use them even more!

Man, can I just say that being anxiously engaged in his work lets us be the happiest we could ever imagine!  And it is so funny.  How often do people test out the counsel of the prophets by going the negative direction.  For example, the prophet says not to do something and so some one will do that thing until they feel miserable and learn their lesson.  I know I have done that before.

But there is an easier way to learn the lesson.  To just follow the counsel and then see how happy you are!  Try it out! I can promise you will be pleased with the results!  Maybe some day when people talk about teenagers "Experimenting" they will be talking about teenagers experimenting following the guidelines and counsel given to us by men inspired of God.  Wouldn't that be awesome?
   (we visited a special chapel place where they hold Catholic Bishop's meetings)

Well I have not much else to report, this week was great!  I still have hard days, but every one does.  The nice thing is these hard days aren't like hard days in the past.  My trials now a days are ones that God sends to help me grown, not trials I get myself stuck in.  That's what happens when you keep the commandants, and let me tell you, THAT is one of the greatest blessings I know!

I can promise you that our father in heaven knows us and loves us.  He is so aware of us!  He is aware of you and his will is only your happiness.  I also promise that the only way to find that happiness is to give your will to him and let yourself be guided by his loving hand.

I love you all so much.  I miss you, you are all in my heart and prayers!  I truly love you!

Sister Henry

P.S. It is snowing outside! Yay!  You wouldn't believe how beautiful it is here.  It's nuts.  I am excited because next week we get to go through the Alps to get down to Brixen.  I don't know the details yet but I should know them next week. Can you believe I am going to Italy.  Some times I think I sort of cheated Elder Root out, I get to go to the Bern temple AND Italy haha!

Cooking up a storm of deliciousness

Cozy socks from her Wendy-Mom!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Smells Like Home.

This week was a really good one.   First off, to explain the title line.
Sister Garrett and I were walking back to the church after going by on a few people.  Our church is sort of out there, on the outskirts of the city of Salzburg, and so there is a point where you walk on a cute little path through a huge field used as pasture for cows.  We were walking, and it was a cooler, wetter night, and the sweet smell of cow poop was in the air.  It felt like a school morning! (There are dairy farms near Glenwood, Laurin, and Prairie, her elementary middle and high schools, my kids all don't mind the smell of cow manure!)

As we walked, we then heard some mooing.  Curious, we looked for the source and saw a barn on the side of the road.  There was a man standing outside, so we went to go talk to him.  Before we could get his attention, he went into the barn.  We walked closer and saw all of the cute cows and couldn't resist.  So we called into the barn and asked if we could come and pet his cows.  He said yes!  So naturally, we then became acquainted with all of the cows and he even showed us the new calf!  He was a little socially awkward, but really nice none the less.  We told him we'd come back and buy some milk from him.

 So then the next morning, while we were in the near, we stopped in to get some nice, fresh, milk!  We didn't know they only sold goats milk, but we really wanted to talk to the man again.  So we rang their little bell and bought a liter and a half of Goats Milk!  Turns out they weren't interested in the Gospel...yet...but we ended up having some fresh goats milk to drink!  Everyone we asked about it said it tastes nasty, but it isn't half that bad!  So all I have been drinking at home for the last few days is nice, refreshing, straight from the udder, goats milk.  Gotta love Austria!
 We also had another little miracle moment.  I was going through the new ward list and was reading off the people who live in our little dorf, Freilassing, and having Sister Garrett tell me about them.  I read a name and she didn't recognize it.  Turns out the updated list has a whole bunch of new people that weren't on the old one!
We decided to go by on one of the people, and the man wasn't at home but his girlfriend that he's living with was home and invited us in!  They have two of the cutest little children on the planet.  We went in, sat down, and just started chatting.  She really is awesome!  Before we left, we asked if we could just leave a little spiritual thought.  Sister Garrett looks at me with the companion look of, "you got this one." Yikes!  All I had was a pass a long Book of Mormon, and we all know how good I am at remembering scripture references.  There is a reason my scriptures look like  rainbow, let me just say that.  I flip open to Ether 12 as that's a solid chapter to share a thought out of.  I decide to read verse 26 which talks all about turning weaknesses to strengths.  I don't remember how the discussion went afterwards, but it lead to us inviting her to read the Book of Mormon and meet with us again.  She gladly accepted, we are actually going tonight! 

The cool part is, I don't think Ether 12:26 is what she needed to hear at all.  It literally was just a random thought to be shared.  (don't worry, I am trying to work on personal preparation for the day)  But that doesn't matter, because, through the spiritual thought, the Spirit was invited and then her concerns, thoughts, opinions, feelings were shared through that spirit and we were able to let the Holy Spirit truly teach her, Spirit to spirit.

We taught Relief Society yesterday with 8 p.m.-the-night-before-notice and were really trying to think about how we could make the lesson really neat and inspiring.  We got into the lesson with all of these ideas, it was a great lesson plan.  But as we taught, the Spirit guided the lesson so that it didn't follow our plan, but the Lord's plan for what the sisters needed to hear.

It is so important that we prepare lessons when we teach, but it is just as important that while we teach, we listen.  I am a firm believer that to teach by the Spirit, we need to listen by the Spirit.  It takes a huge load off of our shoulders when we know that we don't have to be worried about what we are going to say, or how our lesson is going to go, because if we are listening, we'll know!

Oh! WE GOT BIKES!  Getting around Freilassing was a nightmare as there is really no good bus system.  So we called up president and asked if we could get bikes...and he said yes!  It was sort of a head ache getting it all worked out with the money and everything, but now we are the proud owners of two new city cruisers and they are CUTE!  It's also good, because I was thinking about if I want to try just using a bike when I go back to college, and so now I get to test it out in winter time.  So far it has been awesome, though!

I also bought a Dirndl this week!  It ended up being a huge blessing, plus the fact that I have my homecoming talk outfit all picked out!

I have been having a tough time adjusting to a new area.  Like a pretty tough time.  Not so bad to wipe the smile off of my face, but it has still been hard.

I realized that I was trying too hard to get work done, to try and get the numbers and work in this area up and moving, that I was doing the opposite of the counsel in D&C 10:4.  I was running faster than I could, and trying harder than I ought to be.

So I decided to take a step back, and give myself time.  Here I am, trying to rub off a huge change like it is nothing! I just left everyone I knew and loved here and started off all over in not only another area, but another country and culture!  Who am I to talk to these people on the S Bahn or the Bus and tell them what they need?  I haven't even taken the time to get to know them!

Lately, as I talk with people, instead of going into my conversations jumping off my seat to tell them about Joseph Smith, I just try to listen to them.  To learn what is important to them, what they consider to be beautiful in life.  I realized that I need to take the time to get to know them if I ever want to be able to love them!  And I know that it is only through that love that they will be able to hear the message of the restoration with an open heart to actually be able to accept it.

Anyways, I wore my Dirndl to church yesterday and it ended up helping me get a lot closer with the ward, and feel a little more connected to this part of the world!  It was just one example of how, when we take the time to show our love and respect for others, then they will have no option but to offer the same in return.

(at Mozart's birthplace!)

I love being a missionary! I know I say that a lot, but it's just because it is true.  Don't get me wrong, it has not been easy.  It has been harder than I could have ever imagined!  But I love it.  I love these people and I love this Gospel!  I only want to share what I know to bring true peace and happiness with others, and so that's what I'm doing!
I love you all back at home!  Keep being the amazing you that I know you are!  We all have so much to bring to this world, it's only a matter of us living up to our infinite potential that each one of us has!
Love you!
Sister Henry
PS For the first two tausches (exchanges) I will stay here but then we will both go down to Brixen Italy and do a super tausch the last week of the transfer.  So that is pretty exciting.
     I still say hello to everyone, I am trying to bring everything good I did here to Salzburg so it is good!
The ward knows I play piano so I played for Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  They want me to accompany a flute quartet for Stake Conference but I really have to practice so we will see.  I am starting to get to know them, it just obviously takes time.  But they like me!  Of course I study German, but I don't worry too much about it being perfect.  I just talk with everyone and that helps the most.  It won't be perfect when I come home but that's okay, I plan on studying it further and refining it.  (Mom's note: I can't believe she might play for Stake Conference--she is a singer not a pianist!  Her piano teacher until she quit her freshman year, DeeAnn Field, will be thrilled! There are SO many blessings of serving a mission, if you're thinking about one, DO!)

Monday, January 13, 2014

FREIlassing and salzBURG

I just realized that by living in Freilassing and working in Salzburg, I am still in a way in Freiburg!

So, what to talk about?  
Well first I will talk about how awesome my last day in Freiburg was.  We went to go meet with one of our investigators, F, who is from Angola.  When we started teaching him, we wanted to challenge ourselves to be more like a Preach My Gospel missionary and try and do shorter lessons more often every week.  So we meet with him like 3 times the week before for only about 30 minutes.  He lives right next to the apartment, and one of the Young Adults in our ward was able to come with us to be a joint teach.

He came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it!  He's from Angola, the same country as our bishop.  He actually knows our bishop!  Anyways, he loved church and then we set up an appointment for that Wednesday.  We taught him the plan of salvation and then invited him to be baptized as a member of the church.  He was so cute when he said yes!  He told us yes and then said, "But I may need picked up."  We then explained to him that there are a few more things he needs to learn so that he can really enjoy the blessing of baptism and membership in the church, and so we'll be coming around for a while.  I am really excited to see him find more and more happiness in his life.  It's been so cool to see where he was when we found him, and the light that has been coming in since we've been teaching him.  

Isn't the gospel the coolest thing?

So, now I'm here.  I haven't seen much yet.  I feel like I'm coming on the mission all over again!  It actually hasn't been too easy the last couple of days.  Freiburg had really become my home, I loved those people and I knew those people.  Now I am here in a totally new world, with a totally new dialekt.  When I first came to Freiburg back in July, I was missing home quite a bit.  Now coming here, I am missing Freiburg quite a bit.
Final Freiburg District Photo

It's been hard, I'm not going to lie.  But the tenderest mercy has happened. Beneath the difficulty of being uprooted to a new area, I haven't had any worry that all is lost.  I know that it has to be uncomfortable and hard for me to grow.  Trials are a part of our experience in this life.  They are a natural part of becoming who we are meant to be.  The mission has really helped me have the perspective to really understand that this hard time, it is just that; a period of time.  As I rely on God and endure it well, he will help me fall in love with Salzburg.  He'll help me understand these people, teach them, and share with them his love.  It's just going to take time. 

Ha, who would have thought I would learn so much about patience on the mission?

So that's where I am at right now.  Trudging through the trial mud so that I can make the most of the beautiful things to come.  I am excited to learn, grow, and experience.  I don't know what the Lord has in store, but he's made my life pretty dang wonderful already, so I'm okay with leaving it up to him.
Bye Freiburg Elders Kingery and Stuart!

Saying goodbye to the District Leader/trainer Elder Davies.  She said they were going to be buds after the mission.

Seeing Sister Peterson at the Bahnhof in Munich!!!

I love you all so much.  I love life so much!  Being a missionary has given me a new appreciation for how beautiful this life really is.  We are so blessed to be here and be experiencing what we are right now.  I love the thought that today is part of eternity.  We need to not forget that. C.S. Lewis said that when we live for the next life, we get this one in the deal.  But when we live only for this life, we lose them both.  I just hope that we can all learn the perspective that the plan of salvation brings to us, so that we can enjoy better the beauties and wonders that today brings!  The gospel truly brings us a perfect happiness and hope, today and forever!

I hope this week is great for you.  I wish you all the best and I miss you all so much!

Sister Henry

Haha Dad, your opinion was half valid.  It was still really fun to see Elder Root, but it also didn't drive me away from the work either.  So I guess you could say we handled it like starry eyed missionaries.  But it was good.

That is so cool that you set the TV up like that!  I remember looking at the pictures at the dinner table and then all of us turning as fast as we could when a funny one came up. that was fun.

I don't have much time today.  The lame computer crashed and so I lost some email time :(  But Elder Halversen just shouted down the stairs and told me he knows Shavonne's family and that they are super cool.  So he has our Zone Leaders approval.  I thought that was pretty funny.

Dad, I wish you could see the mountains here!  They are HUGE and beautiful!  You would love to hike in them, I know you would.  Oh my gosh, you would love Salzburg.  There is a ton to see, and so many places to hike.  Sometimes when I look at them I think, "Man! I wish dad were here to go on a hike!"

I love you Daddy!
Zone Training silliness

Bye Freiburg Apartment teddy!
Last fun visit with this great family