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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mein Herz gehört zum Bodensee

(translation: My Heart belongs to Lake Constance)

Can I just say I have gotten way too lucky with how beautiful my areas are?  I have fallen in love with the Bodensee and the surrounding areas!  On Tuesday we had an appointment in Konstanz and then walked through the innenstadt (downtown) to the harbor to wait for our train.  It is breathtaking here, holy cow!  I cannot believe how beautiful this area is!


     So you ready for a miracle?!?!
On Tuesday we took the bus to get to district meeting.  I sat across from two Old ladies (Singen is full of them.  I love talking to them, though) and we had a nice chat.  They got off of the Bus, when a woman from another country comes up to me and asks where I'm from.  I start explaining where I am from, what I am doing, etc.  I ask her if she wants to see our church, since we were heading that way anyways.  Sister Hammock and I take her there and give her a church tour, it was awesome.
     We ask to meet again on Friday, which we do, and show to her the restoration video.  She talked to us about how she really feels like she has no home.  She has green eyes, and even though she is asian, it makes her feel like she doesn't belong there and that she doesn't know where she belongs.  We vergleichen? (likened) (she is forgetting English) the story of Joseph Smith to her life and she really loved it.  It really hit home with her.
     We then invited her to church and she said she might not come.  We then promised her of the blessings that will come if she comes to church.  She said she'd try, but that she wasn't sure. 
We were pretty sure she wouldn't come to church, but we just knew how important it would be for her!  And how much it would help her!  So after fasting and prayer, we took off to church on Sunday, and during Relief Society, there she walks in the door!
     She LOVED church!  She said she felt beautiful there.  We met with her afterwards and talked to her about being baptized.  She said she needs a little time to decide, which we totally understand. 
     She is just the sweetest, most wonderful, cutest woman ever!  She is so humble and such a miracle in my life.  Even if she doesn't get baptized here in Singen (she goes back on the 18th) I will still be so grateful to be able to play a hand in the Lord's work.  Hopefully she will get baptized here, though, because it's really complicated for her to be baptized at home. (more on this beautiful story on Sister Hammock's blog: http://thereandbackagaintoyou.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-refiners-fire/ )
     Anyway, just want you to know that miracles do happen!  I found it so interesting, though, because I did nothing different.  I was doing my work the way I have been for months, but God blessed me with this tender mercy anyways.  Because He loves me.
     Actually, that's just it.  God loves us so much!  He really truly does!  He doesn't just love us when the miracles come, when things are going good.  The tokens of his love aren't things that are measurable at all, actually.  I think the greatest token of his love is that inner peace, that happiness that we feel inside of us regardless of our circumstances.
     That happiness is available to all, it's just a matter of us doing our part to feel it.

Man, I love being on my mission.  I just know this is exactly where I am supposed to be!  Don't worry, talking about going home doesn't make me trunky.  I am here and I am supposed to be here, but I also am supposed to go home in December and that is important and wonderful too :)
I love you so much, so, SO MUCH!
Love,
Sister Henry
Very happy surprise: "Elder Davies just surprised us!!!!  It was so hard not to give him a big hug! He was with his parents and his brother, it was so fun! His mom took a picture so hopefully you'll see it. Well you know me, I just get so excited!!!"
About World Cup and going for the USA:  "Oh everyone loved it!  Everyone in the city was talking with us, about us being missionaries too!  It was so fun!"




About her dear new companion: "Oh Sister Hammock and I are so funny!  We are such chatters, we can talk and talk for HOURS!  It's great!"
 American Food at the grocery store!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

YOU are created in the image of God!

Well, I'm home!

It was so nuts coming back to Baden Württemberg, and so close to the area that I started my mission!  I was having déjà vuthe whole day on Thursday!  There was a point on the train ride from Munich to Stuttgart that I realized that was the very point where I first talked to my first friend here in Germany, his name was Manfred.       That was almost a year ago!  Time flies, holy cow!
     It's so funny, because before you transfer you always brace yourself for it and think you're prepared to go jump cold water into a new area, and yet it still always catches you off guard.  There have been multiple times this week where I have to tell myself "Slow down, Sister Henry.  You can't know a ward or an area in three days!"  But it's good, I reckon I'll be here until December so I have plenty of time to get to know everyone.
     It's interesting getting transferred and thinking this will probably be my last area.  This is the last third of my mission, the last leg. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I want to use this time.  What do I want to do with this last third?
     I was studying the other day the awesome missionary examples of Ammon and Aaron when I came across a verse which I really enjoyed.  It's Alma 18:34
     I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;
     (I like it better in German) but it's still a great scripture.  I thought about this, I am a man (or a Mensch).  I am just a person, just Sister Henry going around trying to do her best.
     But then the second thought, that I am created after the image of God.  Just stop for a second and think about that.  You are created in the image of God.
     Actually, to take a tangent, yesterday in my studies I was reading about God as the creator and all of the worlds he has created.  I then put my "okay, Sis. H. we're going into too deep of doctrine, let's get back on course" mode on.  Then I thought, no! I want to ponder this for a while.  So then I thought, and I tried to comprehend.  I thought of all of the galaxies out there, all of the mass, all of the wonder.  I thought of God, and the worlds that are created.  I thought about who God is, and then thought further to what may also be there.
     I sat back in awe at the thought of how expansive it all really is.  How great all of it is.
     Going back to that scripture, that we are created after the image of God...wow.  We are created after the image of GOD.  All of the wonder out there, all of the magnificence, is dull when compared to the worth and wonder of each and every human being on this earth.
     I then loved the rest of the verse because it reminded me of my calling.  I am called to teach these things to people.  I have been called, and not just that, but I have taken this calling upon me and I am doing it.
     So for this last third of my mission, I realize that I just want to do it!  I want to be the missionary I always wanted to be, and the missionary that I have become and am becoming!  I just want to let myself be selfless and happy.  Not worrying about the things in the Lord's control, but just living every day with an eye full of faith.  There is no reason for me to worry, I'm a missionary!  
     I am really looking forward to this chapter in my life.  Man, I know I say this all the time, but I am just so blessed.  I just shake my head at the outpouring of blessings that my Father in Heaven has given to me.  I love Him so much.  I am so grateful for Him!
     I love you, have a great week!  I hope it gives you lots of reasons to smile.
Love,
Sister Henry

Notes from our email:  She and Sister Hammock love to chit chat and are already a fun companionship. They are serving in a small branch and are Sister Training Leaders (Sister Zone Leaders) over Freiburg and Lahr too, so they will do exchanges there at least once a transfer as well as serving the people of their area in Singen. The Zone Leaders Elder Michaelson and Elder Allen also serve in Singen, and they are getting an ehe paar couple (senior missionaries) soon. 
Sister Clark and Sister Henry at their favorite cafe for lunch before transfers =) (Sister Clark just emailed me and said the Salzburg Ward misses her bunches & bunches)
 They said the ladies in the corner are them, in 40 years =)

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Saga of Untersberg


​So I will tell you of our Monday Pday adventure and you can draw as many Gospel Parables as you'd like.  There are thousands, I have already found many.

So I signed off of Emails on Monday and we hopped on the bus to the station that we were supposed to go to climb to the top of Untersberg.  It was us, the Salzburg Elders, and the Neumarkt elders.  We start down the trail with the information that we got from different ward members and were very excited for a good ol' hike.

We start going down the trail, and it seemed to be pretty overgrown, but we got to a clearing with two very distinct trails.  There wasn't really a sign, which was kinda weird, but one slanted up. and one went away from the mountain, so we decided to go right (the one going up) as it seemed a good choice.

We go down the trail a little ways, and then there's a sign over on the left telling us that our lives are in danger if we go there.  I question it a bit, but am convinced that it's telling me my life is in danger if I go over there, but if we stick to the trail, it's fine.  That seemed to make sense, so we kept going forward.

There came to a point where the trail really stopped, but there was a small footpath that kept going forward.  Now I have hiked quite a bit with Dad, and when you are on a trail that a lot of people go on, they are usually well trodden.  But I am once again convinced that, hey, there's a Bahn (gondola) to the top of the mountain, of course not very many people go on this trail.  So we keep going forward.


It starts to get pretty overgrown and super slippery from some of the leaves from fall that the snow had melted off.  We keep going and then all of a sudden the trail/footpath just stops.  Well, finally I tell everyone, "Look, my Dad told me NEVER to go off a trail when you are hiking."  Sister Clark and I decide to leave the Elders, who wanted to "explore" a little bit, and we went back to where we came from and tried the other way on the fork.  The path that seemed to go away from the mountain.


We go down that path about 3 minutes and see another Danger to Your Life sign.  This time telling us there's a shooting range ahead. 

We decide this just can't be the right trail and back track a little bit more.  We then find that the sign for the real trail head had fallen down and the bushes were just enough over grown that the direction we had walked had caused us to miss the trail head.  We glance down it, and then we go down to the real foot of all the trails with the little sign talking about the available trails to take.

We heard from one of the Elders that the trail that we were going to take only took 2 hours and we could ride the Bahn back down.  On the sign it said 3 hours, so we decided to ask someone.  We talked to an old man who said it would take us about 4 hours, and that we really should have better gear, but that we could try it and see what happens.  He advised us not to, and we thanked him for his advice.  

We went back to the trail head and mullled it over.  We realized that we would much rather be safe than sorry, and decided to just head back to the bus.  We had gotten a little hiking in and the sun was shining so it was a successful Pday for us.

We get to the Bus Stop and decide to walk down the street a little ways, just in case.  There is a sign saying which direction the Bahn is (sorry, the Bahn is the Gondola that takes us up to the top) and so we walk in that direction, just to try our luck.

We get to another Bus Stop and find out that that is where the special Bus to the Gondola stops but only once an hour.  We look at our watches, and the Bus should be there in 2 minutes!  So we decide to wait, maybe we will ride to the Bahnhof and just see how expensive it is to go up.

We get on the Bus and being the only ones on the bus, have a great chat with the Bus driver.  He was super nice, and taught me that all of the water here in Salzburg is from Untersberg!  He drops us off in front of the Bahnhof and we go in to check the prices.

It looks pretty pricey, but we find out that because I had withdrawn some personal money that morning, Sister Clark and I had EXACTLY the right amount for the both of us.  We decide, you know what!  We only live in Salzburg once!  So we buy the tickets on a whim and the guy tells us the Bahn is about to go, but they'll let us on first.  So we get on, start going, I have a nice chat with the Bahn driver, and then BAM.   Hello Alps!  The view out of the Bahn was so cool!  We were going up huge jagged cliffs, it was nuts!








​We get to the top...I can't even try to explain how breathtaking the view was.  It impressed me so much that that evening as I lay in bed, I still thought of how beautiful it was up there.  We truly felt on top of the world, and it was more spectacular than we could have possibly imagined.  It was awesome, in the very definition of the word.  Truly breathtaking.

We thought about later how big the process to get to the top was.  But we then realized that, had the day worked out any different, we would not have ended up on the top of the mountain.  Oh, we would have had a great Pday and enjoyed hiking.  We couldn't have made it to the top, as the trail we were going to take took us about half way up to a certain house that you can rent rooms for the night.  It would have been pretty, and all that we would have imagined.

But God knew just how much more beautiful the top of the mountain was.  He also knew that right now, on our missions with our limited Pday time, there was only one way for us to get there.  So, He being Almighty and all knowing, got us up there.  I am so grateful from my whole entire heart that He did so!  It was just phenomenal.

From Sister Clark's letter: 

My 'hike' up to Untersberg was interesting.  We started off on one trail, and the trail kept getting smaller and smaller and we just kept hiking higher and higher and we got to a point where i was like, hey! This is not the trail!! Sister Henry agreed because we were both taught from our Dad's to not hike on an unmarked trail.  (thanks Dad!)  As we headed down, without the Elders of our district, because they were determined to say they were right and to continue going up, we talked about how the Lord protects us by also letting us use our common sense.  As we headed down another trail, which I have to admit, I thought was right, ended up having a DANGER sign pop up and tell us we can't go any farther because of 'open fire'.  Well that was definitely not right either! So a bit discouraged we headed to the beginning of the trail again.  We ended up finding the right trail, but after talking with some experienced hikers, we decided against it and to just go see how much the gondola cost.  We got to the bus right on time, (which only goes 1 every hour) and ended up getting to the station right before it headed up! We made a very rash decision and decided to just GO!  As we headed up we saw the most beautiful views I've ever seen in my whole life!! (don't worry, by this time, the elders had called us and we talked them into walking down and coming on the gondola with us, but they hadn't made it with as good as time as us.)  As we walked around the top of Untersberg and hiked around we just really thought about how God really lead us to this option.  He knew our true desire of our hearts was to get to the top to see the view and enjoy it along the way.  The trail we found out later, would have been WAY to hard for us.  people train for weeks and months to be able to make it!  We were able to enjoy the maximum amount of time up there and just really enjoy it!! It was beautiful! I kept saying, I feel like I'm on top of the world!!!! :) It was wonderful! And the elders told us the next day that they wrote in their journals to always listen to their wives one day! :)  (I thought that was so funny I had to include it--Lisa)

I will write a little bit more about this week.  We had an awesome Zone Training and Zone Conference with the Miles.  It was really sad to see them go, but I know I mostly just an overwhelming gratitude for them and all that they have done.  They also did a great job to help us be excited for President and Sister Kohler, and we are super excited!  We have been praying for them every day.
Salzburg Zone

Elder Sharp

Sister Jenson
Elder Morrill

Elder Dickson from Washington
That's Elder Wasden (other ZL) in front


 Elder Glück
Last hug from President and Sister Miles 
And of course, I am getting transferred.  There are a lot of feelings, but mostly just a bursting sense of gratitude.  I have learned so much here in Salzburg.  I feel like the extraordinary, awe inspiring jagged Alps represent a lot of my feelings about this area.  It is really hard to explain, but I  feel as if my time here was really worth every moment.  I look back and don't regret a single minute, it really did shape my life.



With her Primary children she plays the piano for each week


Chalkboard sketch of Salzburg



I also couldn't be happier about getting called to Singen.  I was beaming all day after the transfer call came :)  (see zone conference photos above)

Well, that's all for today.  I love you all.  I hope your week is fantastic.

Hurrah for Israel!

Sister Henry


Monday, June 9, 2014

Can I give your kid a balloon?

Yet another castle!


So the summer weather is here!  It has been hot and sunny!  Which I don't mind at all, it's much easier to be outside all day when it's warm outside, than when it is cold, wet, and rainy.  I love being a missionary in the summer!  Everyone is so happy and open to talk, and if you need to have a lesson with a man, you can can find a public place to meet much easier than when it is cold outside.
  
                                This is from the week before, on the way to Golling




On Saturday we had an Ausstellung in our stomping grounds in Freilassing.  It was really fun, we set up next to the Saturday Market and really tried to make it bright, fun, and happy.  I brought my little Oonze Angle speaker and we had EFY music playing in the background, while we really tried to just get the news out about the fact that we are from the Mormon church (not Catholic, Evangelisch, Jehovah's Witness, etc.), that we believe in Jesus Christ, and that we are happy!
We decided to do something we had seen the missionaries in Switzerland do, and contact with Balloons.  It was super fun, we tied little "I'm a Mormon" cards on them with a little candy and then handed them out to every little kid we saw. 






At first it was really funny because parents wouldn't let their kids have one.  We were so confused, and sad that they were so against people from a church.  But then we realized that here in Europe, it's really weird for something to be given out for free.  A lot of times what beggars do is put a rose in someones hand, and then make them pay for it because they took it.  Lots of little tricks like that.  So it makes sense they were a bit wary at first.

But then after a while we started giving them out, and it was such a success!  There were kids coming up to us asking for balloons and if you looked down the streets of the market, you just saw little balloons sticking out of the crowds.


You know what the best part is?  Those were families!  Families were the ones that saw the cards, that came to the stand to get the balloons.  It was so fun!  And everyone was so happy, excited, and friendly to us.  It was really cool.







So you know how we need to not run faster than we have strength?  Well, I need to definitely learn the balance with that one.  I ran a little too fast this week, and even though we saw a lot of success, I was so unhappy!  (she was so hard on herself last week I'm not surprised she tried to work beyond her capacity)  So, I know both sides of the balance, both extremes, and with the Lord's help I get to figure out the balance.  I don't want to have the regret of not giving my best on my mission, but I also don't want to regret being so focused on the small things on the mission that I don't enjoy the big picture, so I am just figuring it all out.  The voice lesson I taught Saturday to the ward members went great, the music you sent was perfect!

Man, life is so cool!  We get to just learn and get better!  It sort of stinks because we have to go through some hot refiners fire to learn those lessons, but we also all know that, I think Elder Uchtdorf said something along these lines, from the tops of those mountains we get to look back at the valleys of experience.  That's always the best.

Well, I don't know what else to write.  I am living, I am learning, I'm a missionary!

Transfer calls is on Friday.  I will let you know what happens.  I don't want to leave Salzburg, so that probably means I am getting the boot.  Haha. But I love this place and these people.  There is no way to explain the way a missionary feels about the people they serve.  You just love them, 100% pure, concentrated, Christ-Like love.




I love you and hope you have a great week!
Love,
Sister Henry

 The mountain they are hiking today!!! The Untersberg!