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Monday, July 28, 2014

Faith Planted in our Hearts

If you would like Elder Henry's letters emailed to you, very similar to Sister Henry's but a little shorter ;o) let me know.--Lisa

Okay the first thing of note, the spontaneous patches of wildflowers are popping up everywhere here in Southern Germany, and I love them so much!  I totally forgot about them over the winter, but seeing them again makes me wish I could live here forever.  I love this place so much, this is seriously the most beautiful part of the world.
Many of these photos are in Konstanz where she has spent some pdays and had a Finding Day

 Actually it was funny, I had one of those "You know you've been away from America when..." moments this week.  We were in Konstanz and there was a building that said it was built in 1852.  I thought to myself, "Oh, okay. That's a seemingly new house" 

I am pretty sure before my mission 1852 wouldn't seem new...
So we had so many miracles this week I wish I could list them all!  Here's an example, an investigator of ours that has been hard to reach called us on Friday and asked what time he should come to church.  Then yesterday, HE CAME!  We have a recently moved in member of our ward who is also from Nigeria, and it worked out perfectly.  They got along great, and it was so cool because D had taken that step by himself!  We are meeting with him tomorrow.  Miracles do happen, they really do!

We also had a ton of success with Less actives this week.  We went by on one, she said come back in an hour, so we went by on another, set up an appointment, went back to the first, and had a lesson!  We just decided to take the plunge and start teaching less actives and baptizing their families.  It is a little scary; just because you have to sort of step out of the old ways and into the new.  My whole mission, I thought dooring all day and finding through that made me in a way more successful.  But something President Kohler has really taught me is that to work smart, we need to step out of our box and do it.  So we are doing that, and honestly, I know this is what's right because the spirit has been so strong in our less active lessons.

For example, we met with Schwester L twice this past week, and the second lesson we started off by inviting everyone to the lesson.  She has two boys, 18 and 6 years old, and her sister and 9 year old daughter also live with them.  They speak Spanish at home, and so the sister and a friend that was visiting unfortunately did not join the lesson, but all of the kids did.  We had decided to teach about Faith being like a seed, using the parable in Alma chapter 32. 

THE KIDS LOVED IT!  And it was so cool because Schwester L got to help teach so much of the lesson and rekindle her testimony!  It was one of the most Spirit filled lessons, as we had brought a little mug and some seeds, and let the kids plant their own seeds to grow between our lessons. 
We then invited them to church and the kids (the 6 and 9 year old) said, "We want to go! We want to go!" Unfortunately they were busy this week, but as we continue to flood their home with the spirit and invite them, I know that miracles can happen in this family.
It was seriously miracle after miracle this week and it made me realize once again, that this is God's work and when we are doing what we can, then we really don't need to be afraid because God's work will go forward in His own time.  I am so excited to really get my elbows in the dirt here and work work work!  This is such an amazing area, with some of the best members I have met in my life. 

I read something during my studies today that really impressed me.  It was one of the moments when the wave of the spirit comes over you.  I was reading a conference talk from October 2012, Is Faith in the Atonement Written in our Hearts?  Sister Reeves quotes Jeremiah 31:33-34

"..After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people...
...for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
I realized that this describes perfectly what a mission means.  It is a time where God puts His law in our inward parts, that his law becomes written on our hearts.  Every single missionary, regardless of circumstances.
I just feel so blessed to be out here on my mission.  Gosh, I can already tell you that my mission means more than the world to me.  Even if I went home on Thursday with Sister Hammock, I would be filled in awe of all of the wonder that this past year has contained.  And you know what the best part is?  I don't go home on Thursday, I still have 3 transfers of miracles and awe ahead of me! 
I know that this work transcends these 18 months, but I also am so grateful for these 18 months.  My mission is the greatest time God has given to me up to this point, and I wouldn't change a single moment of it for the world.  It is incredible. 
Well, Sister Hammock and I have to exchange pictures and stuff so I gotta wrap up my email, but I love you all so much!  Stay strong, stay true!  Let yourself be happy; stay true to the covenants you've made!
Sister Henry

Updates from our emailing back and forth:  My new companion is Sister Kutschke, a German! Oh and I got released as a STL and I am so happy about it!  Singen really needs us 100% here in our areaI don't think I'll train on my mission, but that's okay. I already feel a huge mantle lifted from my shoulders.  I also cried a little the other day because I realized that God let me go to Freiburg on that Austausch and I probably won't be able to go back.  Just the thought that he let me be there for Vanessa's birthday really humbles me.  It is amazing.  I get emotional just thinking about it.
     WE HAD A GREAT WEEK.  We have a ton of dinner appointments before Sis Hammock leaves. Today, Sister V took us to Radofzell for Pday and then we had lunch with our new senior couple, the Lees. 

Haha yeah if I want to come back and backpack through Europe, I definitely won't need to pay for a place to stay.  I could probably get enough meals to keep me through, also.  It's fun knowing how to get around Europe.  I wouldn't mind staying with the Hubys! 
Yeah I would love to work closely with her (Professor Megan Jones) when I get back to school.  I'll send her an email in September or so, before classes.  I just think she and I are a lot alike.  We love theater but more than that, we love learning. (She is an RM and the head of the program Sis Henry is studying, she encouraged her to serve her mission).
Hopefully I can get an internship near home so that I can have a summer with the family again :)  Man, that would be so fun!  Work for President Christensen, and help out with some camps and internships.  I just can't help but feel like the future looks bright!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Surprise in Sacrament Meeting!

We went to Rhein falls!  It was really cool!

So yesterday I learned that all of those hours studying up on Avatar paid off!  Watching the show 3 times through in one school year at college, best idea ever!  We got to the appointment, and the kids were finishing up an episode on the couch.  They finished and then obviously I started talking with them about Avatar.  There was still some time before lunch was ready, and so we decided to play some avatar.  (Sort of like how we used to play Megaman on the trampoline when we were kids).  All 4 of us picked a character, Fabio was Aang, Emelia was Katara, Sister Hammock was Princess Azula, and I was, of course, Appa the flying Bison.
   (here is the photo of the fun Zone Leaders we had serving in our ward when the kids were little, Elder Lambeth and I can't remember the other Elder's name, playing Megaman with our boys)

Every time the kids wanted to go and fight Princess Azula across the room, they would yell, "Appa! Yip Yip!" and I would come over on all fours, load them on, and we'd go fight the firelord's daughter until it was time to retreat!  Don't worry, I even opened my mouth and blew my big gusts of air when Aang and Katara didn't have enough energy.
It was pretty fun, because then the kids called me their Bison the rest of the appointment.  "Mein Bison muss essen" "Ich will neben meinen Bison sitzen!" "My Bison must eat." "I want to sit next to my Bison!"  Bison is pronounced Bee-zohn sort of.  I decided they need to get me a new nametag "Sister Henry: Everyone's favorite Bison."
It was a ton of fun, don't worry we had a great lesson and did missionary work too :)
I just thought about how when I was a kid, the missionaries always played with us and that really means so much.  I think it's so important that as missionaries, we don't forget the kids.  We need to love them so that they grow up and want to be like us, want to go serve missions.  If they have the desire to serve a mission, then they'll want to stay on that path that gets them to that desire.  There is just no influence like a missionary to a little kid.  Especially Elders, Elders have the power to influence boys lives like nobody else.
So, I experienced a tender mercy this week.  I was feeling like things weren't really happening, you know, just getting down like us people tend to do.  We were at church and no investigators were there, which was a bummer but L went back to her homeland and E has been busy with work so we were sort of expecting it.  In spite of that,  I was still feeling a little down, when we look out the window and see a man pull up in his bicycle.  At first we thought it was E, but upon further inspection we realize it was a different man.

He walks in, gets greeted by Benjie, then by Sister Hammock, then I go to shake his hand and I realize I recognize him from Somewhere.  I ask him if we've met before, and then he reminds me that we had met in the Bus and continued to talk in the train all the way down to Konstanz.  I totally remember talking to him!  His name is P, and it was one of those conversations, where I just chatting and chatting with him, even though I thought nothing would come of it.  I had given him a card with our number, and he had gone his way.  I seriously thought nothing of it, just another one of those conversations. 
THEN HE SHOWS UP AT CHURCH FOR SACRAMENT MEETING!  He's so funny, he sat down next to me, told me he's Catholic and not planning on changing, is just interested to see our meeting.  I told him it's not a problem!  I am just happy he is there!  He really enjoyed the spirit he felt during the meeting, although he had to leave shortly after the sacrament for an appointment.  We got his phone number, and he said he'd come back for the whole meeting not next week, but the week after.
I was just so impressed.  I feel like, when we sort of hit the bottom and feel like nothing is really happening, God sends us a little miracle to help us blink into eternity.  He is so mighty, he has so much power.  This work will go forward according to his timing, according to his will.  We just need to have the courage to do his will, to do the little hard things that seem of no use, but really end up making all the difference.

Sometimes I think, man, all I can do is carry on a conversation with anybody.  That's nice, but I need to have this persons spiritual gift, or that persons spiritual gift.  Of course it is important to seek to improve ourselves and develop new talents and gifts, but I think God really wanted to remind me that he's called me to the work and he knows my strengths and weaknesses perfectly.  He knows exactly what I am going to do, and he will use me accordingly.
It's my last full week with Sister Hammock :(  There is just nothing like a mission companion.  It's funny because before my mission, I was so scared to have to spend all day with another person every day.  I thought it would be so hard!  But little did I know it's the best thing ever!  You always have someone to chat with and talk to and share funny things with.  I have a feeling that's why people get married so fast after their mission, life is just so much more fun with someone else!
Oh, and we had an Austausch with Lahr this week.  I got to work with Sister Packer who is AWESOME.  She taught me so much, just from her example as a true servant of God!  We took the train ride to Offenburg, the same train ride the first time I visited Singen as a Golden.  It winds through the prettiest part of the Black Forest.  I thought to myself, "Move over Süd Tirol! I might end up living in the Schwarzwald!"  You are right Mom, I just can't help but fall in love with every place that I am!
I gotta go, but the work is going forward!  Gosh, I know I say this all the time, but missions really are the best!

I love you!

Sister Henry

Chat things: Zone training was great!  I play piano in relief society some times.  I want to do a musical number soon, the branch loves my voice.
     Oh I almost forgot to upload them!  I love the muggy weather, today it's actually cold and overcast again, but it's been nice the last few days.
     Awe, tell Sam (Marrott, a 9 year old in our ward) I say hi also.  Did you read my letter?  I love playing with kids.
     I actually have thought about motivational speaking and how much I would love to do that for a career.  I love leading meetings and just getting people excited and public speaking.  So that could be some really fun work.

 Me eating watermelon while doing my studies.  I ate a whole quarter of a watermelon. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The happiest missionary.

I asked Sister Henry to write me a letter with advice about Seminary because she had such a great experience (even though she was NOT a morning person then--we didn't call her The Bear for nothing). There were a few paragraphs I wanted to share. I don't know why I ever worry about this missionary, she is always happy...I included some of my favorite photos of her right before and during her mission.

2 Corinthians 7:4

"I love my mission! I don't know if its allowed for someone to be so happy, but I am! Even though it's so hard and I have to face my fears so often every day. I love being on a mission. I also love the fact that this isn't just my mission life but that it is real life! It gives me hope that after my mission I will be able to readjust fine."
     "It's funny because I still question things. I actually question the Gospel more than I ever have before, but the questions stem out of a hope for the answer and it's been really cool to see God answer them."
     "I love these people here in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and Liechtenstein. It's crazy, it's like my heart just keeps growing and growing!"