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Monday, August 25, 2014

Missions: A "Key" to Life Lessons

 Pday at Festungsruine Hohentwiel.

Some fun captions for this one from her Facebook page:
 ""Fly you fools..."  (Gandolf)
Wrong dang wish! to get that penny back before it hits the water!!!!! Oh my life!"
"Should have taken that frog up on his offer...""Help! I've fallen and I can't get up! "
"the things a missionary does to save one soul! Hey you guys, you sure someone lives down here?""So this is what a German baptismal font looks like..." "Elders, I think we have a problem!" ^^^
So funny story of the week: 
We went out on our morning jog, like every morning.  We have two sets of keys, and I decided to leave one set of keys on the inside of the door, since we had the other one.

Yeah, whoopsie. 

We got home, and couldn't get into the apartment.  Of course this was after our frühsport was finished.  It was probably around 6:50, 7:00 in the morning.  We decided to jog another 10 minutes or so, and go by on Oma to ask her to help us, since we had no phone, no coats, no contact lenses, haha.  We showed up, but she didn't answer the door.  Later we remembered that she was down at the temple all week this week.

So we looked at our other options and remembered the Lees (thank heavens for Ehepaares!)They live in a little Stadtteil from Singen called Friedingen, that is probably a 30-40 minute walk from our house.  They were really our only option, so we ended up doing an extra-double-wammy-bam frühsport and jogged all the way out to them.  I am sure the last thing Elder Lee expected at 8 in the morning was to have to just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-put-on-the-tennis-shoes sisters at his doorstep.
It all worked out, though, and we were able to eventually get a lock smith to open the door. I also learned my lesson, don't leave keys in the lock.
It was fun, and I kept the receipt from the locksmith as a memoir.
This week was really good, though.  We were able to teach a new investigator from Cameroon.  He is so cool!  He comes to appointments at least 15 minutes early, and he's just a man full of integrity.  We met with him on Tuesday and on Wednesday, and then on Friday he called Benj, our GML, and talked to him about how he really feels like the church is his chance to change his life for the better.  He came to church yesterday and we are meeting again on Tuesday.

It was fun because I was on Austausch (exchange) with Sister Hemmi when we taught him on Wednesday.  At the lesson we had B, J, and W as our joint teaches.  Sis Hemmi was pretty surprised that we had a lesson with three different joint teaches, but that is just how this little branch is!  They love sharing the gospel, and they do all that they can to share this happiness with others!
(Lunch with the Elders, Sister Hemmi, and new member Juliet and her son (not pictured))

We also had a cool experience meeting with two YSA's.  We met on Tuesday and then set up an FHE appointment for Thursday.  The Lees were going to have the four of us over, but Sister Lee got sick and it wasn't going to work.

I just couldn't let these girls go!  This FHE was important to them, to make them feel loved and needed.  So we had our own little FHE at the church, complete with BLTs, and a little FHE lesson at the end.  It was really cool, it was one of those times where I feel so humbled because the Lord let us be the ones to reach out.
We are meeting again this week, and I am super excited.  It is fun to meet with people around our age!
The Good Shepherd.

I would love to work for Vora in December! I think that Global Business minor would be really cool, add a business class to my schedule for this Winter, and then maybe it will give me an excuse to learn a third language!  Honestly, I feel like my degree will look diverse enough to help me get into graduate school.  It sort of explains me: fun, somewhat adventurous, a little crazy, but still capable of doing normal person things. haha. I really do love going to college.  I am pretty excited to be learning in a classroom again, especially now that I love studying.  Homework will be a lot more enjoyable after the mission haha.
Sorry, I don't have a ton of time this week, but I want you to know that I am definitely learning and growing.  Gosh, missions are just the best.  Life is just the best.  How lucky are we that we got to come here to this earth and experience this life?

We truly are blessed.

I love you all.  Thanks so much for your prayers and your love.

Sister Henry

That's our girl..................
Singen Distrikt

Photobombing Elder Sanft with Elder Allan


Good companions hold your hair for photos =)
Model of what the castle once was 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The POWER of Chocolate Chip Cookies

 First investigator she has seen from beginning to baptism
Sherry and J
 (she is officially the Elders' baptism but they taught her together)
Sis Kutschke, K-J, J, Sister Henry, Oma V. Thank you so much for sending photos, Oma V! <3
Singen Branch Missionaries: Elder Mickelson, Sister Henry, Sister Kutschke, Elder Allan

So I don't know if you could tell, but last Monday I was just having a rough day.  Every now and then I just get overwhelmed and stressed, the flood gates open and I have a bad day.  It's usually not on Pday, but this time it was. j I am still trying to decide if it's because I am a missionary, or simply because I am a woman ;)  But it's all good, it's good to emotionally drain and refresh every now and then, and this week was so refreshing.

But something really REALLY funny happened on Monday.  We are all done with emails, we head back home to just clean and rest for Pday.  After a couple of hours, we make our way over to the grocery store to get our weekly groceries.  I was still feeling just really on edge and emotional.  Anyways, we are at the fruit isle when I man comes up and asks if we are Mormon.  I say yes, he asks if we're from America, I say I am and Sis. K is from Darmstatt, etc.  The usuals. 
He starts talking about some trips he took around America and it slowly turns from the things he enjoyed to all of the reasons he does not like America and will never visit America again or buy anything made in America.

Now, normally I can take this.  We joke that Sister Kutschke brought bad luck, because lately there have just been a lot more people getting upset  with me for being American.   Anyways, he keeps ranting and I just go, "Sir, I am sorry.  I can not handle this today." and I just start crying.  Right there, next to the apples and the plums, I am crying in a grocery store however many thousand miles away from home. (5345 miles)
Poor guy, he felt SO BAD.  He didn't think twice that I would be upset from what he said.  He wasn't trying to be mean at all, he was just stating his opinion which he is totally entitled to.  Oh I felt so bad, because he felt so bad.
Anyways, he apologizes, we talk a little bit, I explain I am just having a hard day and sometimes it's hard from me, etc. etc.  The next day we open our Post box and what is inside?  A little box of chocolates with a note "I am sorry to have make you cry" on it.  I

It turns out he's our neighbor, and when we go jogging in the morning, he is usually out for his morning smoke.  We chatted the other day and also brought him some cookies.  Yep, Winfried and I are totally buds.

We also brought cookies to the woman underneath us, and we are so tight now.  I give her a hug just about every time I see her.  I love love LOVE being friends with the people here.  Germans are just the best!  They are the best friends in the world.  AKA I am so lucky to have Sister Kutschke as my companion.  It's a blast.

Oh the other funny part was that most of the chocolate had alkohol in it (there were a couple pieces without thankfully).  Our neighbor from downstairs also brought us some thank you gift.  It was these two cute Elderblossem drinks with a little bit of lime and mint in it.  We were so excited to drink them, after making sure they weren't alcoholic.  We sat down to dinner, were about to open them up, and then Sister Kutschke noticed right next to the label a little 6,9%.  So, we didn't end up drinking those ones haha
J was baptized this weekend!  She's an investigator from the Elders, I am sure Sis Hammock gave you the downlow, but she is AWESOME.  Seriously, she is like an angel that fell out of the sky.  It was a beautiful service, and it was so cool to be able to watch her take that step.  It once again testified to me, that this life is all about those steps.  About making those covenants and then making the small steps every day to keep those covenants and come closer to Him. J is so cool, gosh, missions are just the best.
Like I said, this week was a refreshing week.  We had Zone training, and it was a ton of fun to be able to just sit back, take notes, and enjoy what the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders had prepared.  Sister Packer and Sister Hemmi did awesome, I get to go on Tausch with Sister Hemmi this week and I am pretty dang excited.  They are two powerhouse missionaries.  

We also got to go to the temple, which was GREAT!  I loved every moment of it.  It was also cool, because it made me want to go out and be a missionary.  I am excited for when I get to go to the temple as often as I want, but I also know that this time really is the time for me to focus my work on the living.

Interviews were FANTASTIC.  The Kohler's are just the best!  Seriously, they were called by inspiration.  They are the best.
Yep, so it was a very spiritually rejuvenating week.  I feel like I am all balanced inside again.  Today we're going to go to Hohentwiel, so I will take lots of pictures!
I love you all!  I know that as we continue to learn truths and move closer to God, we will grow brighter and brighter in happiness with every step.  It's like when the sun rises slowly but ever so surely until all of a sudden, you realize that you are living in a perfectly clear noon day.  You didn't realize in the moment how bright it was become, but then looking back you can't help but realize how warm it's all become.

Oh, my brain is getting messed up with so much German.  I say English words in my German sentences, and German words in my English ones without noticing.  They just slip out.  It's fun, though.  Sister Kutschke and I joke that there are a lot of jealous missionaries because I get to work with a German speaker ;)
I love you!
Sister Henry
 PS  I loved to hear more about your visits with my comps and Preston!  It's so fun you got to see everyone! Thanks for being so great and getting to know the other people I love. Oh and I want you to know I am learning a lot about patience with myself, speaking German all the time.  It was really hard for me last week just adjusting to making mistakes all day long, I felt like a golden again.  But it's better now, I am adjusting.  I just thought you would like that I am learning that lesson :)
   Oh yeah, I play the piano all the time now, last minute too.  I played for the baptism.  It is hard for me to comprehend that I wouldn't play when people asked someone to play, how funny is that?

Finding Day in Überlingen
Oma, Sis Kutschke, Sis Henry, Sis Lee, Elder Lee (the Lees are from Tri-Cities in Washington)
With Sis Kutschke and Oma by Bodensee on the Finding Day 
With Elder Sanft, a Golden who is from Portland!

She french braided her companion's hair
A PIGEON (her patronus)
Sherry being Sherry
Kim-Joy in her dirndl and Elder Mickelson 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pick up basketball in a bubble gum pink skirt

Isn't life just the best?  It is so hard to write in an email about all of the experiences, and ups, and downs of a week.  But one thing I am constantly impressed with, is just how dynamic life is.  It is so cool that life is full of ups and downs.  It's like the difference between a flat Nevada freeway and a roller coaster at six flags.  We spend so much time and money, just so we can spend a couple of minutes getting whipped around, going up and down on those rollercoasters!  Maybe that's the sort of excitement we had in the life before this when waiting in anticipation to come here to this earth.
So, here is the funny story of the week!  We got on the Bus in Radofzell to go by on a less active.  The Bus driver asked us about our name tags, so we sat at the front of the bus and started chatting with him.  He's a really nice guy that has been living here for about 25 years.  He first came as a refugee but now has work, has his family here, and feels really blessed that God has given him such a great life.  We had a great chat, and left him with a card and some information about the church.
Then, the next day, we get on the Bus in Singen, and guess who is driving?!  The same bus driver!  We say hi, shake hands, and then go take our seats.  Unfortunately, the front seats were taken, so we had to sit in the middle of the bus and couldn't chat with him.  
We are waiting for the bus to take off, when he comes to us and asks us if we want some coffee.  We say, "No, thank you.  We don't drink coffee."  and then he asks if we'd like some Tee.  Well, one thing I have learned on my mission is that if someone offers you a drink as a gesture of hospitality, and it's not against the word of wisdom to drink it, you really should drink it.  So we let him know, we'd love som fruit tee, sort of puzzled why our bus driver is asking.
He then gets out of the bus, goes to the nearest little food shop, and asks if they have any tea.  Unfortunately they didn't, and he came back on the bus a little bummed.  We told him it wasn't a problem, and that was so nice he offered!
Then, we are halfway into the ride home, when he stops the bus in front of a bakery.  He tells all of the people on the bus, sorry, it will only take me 5 minutes!  Then he gets OFF the bus, goes into the bakery, and a few minutes later comes back with two cups of tea!  He gives one to me and one to Sister Kutschke, and then gets back behind the wheel, and finishes the route.
All of the people were asking him who we were and he goes, " Don't you know?!  They're missionaries!  Those are missionaries!" 
I just was so humbled, I mean, I was shaking my head in disbelief.  Seriously?  Does this really happen?  I just can't believe it.  I just can not believe how much love there is in the world, and if we really step out of our comfort zone and show others that we love them, we will recieve love in return a hundredfold. 
It pains me because we both forgot his name and the country he came from!  He has the info to contact us, but we don't know how to find him!  We didn't have the opportunity to talk to him when we got off of the bus, I mean I should have made the opportunity, but it was just like a whirlwind of, "What just happened?!  Why do I have tea in my hand?!"  But you never know, miracles happen.  I am a believer!
I also learned today that just because you are wearing a bubble gum pink skirt doesn't mean you can't play a little game of pick up basketball in the church parking lot.  There was this kid sitting under our hoop, and so I went to go talk to him.  I think decided, what the heck, so we played a little one on one.  I am sure that was a riot for anyone watching.  He's a good kid, he's almost 16 and his parents are from Africa but he was born and raised here.  Anyways, we are bringing the Elders and are going to play again on Friday.
I just love my mission, it is the best.  It is so hard. 
Actually, on my mission I have developed a real affinity for the story of The Little Train That Could.  There are some times where all I can do is say to myself over and over, "I think I can! I think I can!"  Man, I have never been brought to my knees so much in my life.  I can't even begin to explain how humbling it is to be a missionary.  It really just changes you because for the first time in your life, you only have God.  You don't have your naps to sleep off the stress, or your movies and books to take you to another place, or your Mom that you can just call up and have someone to talk to.  Instead you just pray, and then pray, and then pray some more.  Then you get up, and you go do it. 
I wouldn't trade this roller coaster for the world.  I think for the first time, I am starting to understand that my downs in life are just as wonderful, exciting, and marvelous as my ups.  The fact that God has let me begin to learn that is really something special.
I love it here so much, I simply just love life so much!  How fantastic it is that we get to live it.  Life is the best!
I love you all!  Keep on keeping on!

Sister Henry
(Photos wouldn't upload on the computer she was renting this week)

Hi Daddy!  I am going to the (Bern Switzerland) temple on Wednesday.  If you have a name that I can do, then you can email the information to the Lees (Mom has their email) and I'll take it to the temple!  If it doesn't work out, then I can just get a name there :)  Endowment or Initiatories.
I hope everything works out with the Job!  
Sher Bear

Monday, August 4, 2014

One of the mysteries of the world revealed...

Have you ever wondered where the misspelled American T-Shirts go?  Think about it, someone makes a design, prints hundreds of T-Shirts, only to find out right before it goes to retail that there is a TYPO!  What happens to those hundreds of T-Shirts?  Do they suddenly disappear?
     I have for you the answer!  They send them to Germany!
     Seriously, I see it all the time.  Just today a kid was wearing a shirt that said "This is your own life.  Life your own life."  Unless there were some major adjustments made to the English language in the last year, life your own life doesn't make any grammatical sense.  I mean the concept itself is impossible.  You can't life a life, it takes a mom and a dad to life a life.  Unless America has suddenly invested into a huge cloning initiative.  Which if that's the case, then I have a bigger concern than the English language reform...
     This week was really good.  I actually decided to do something different last night.  Elder Sardoni called to collect our key indicators for the week, and instead of reporting "Yeah, we had this many lessons, or this many referrals..." I decided to say, "Guess what Elder Sardoni?!  We got to teach this many lessons this week!  And that's not even the best part!  We had the opportunity to learn about these many people who may be interested in the Church!  But that's not all, we found this many people this week who hadn't heard about the church before AND want to meet again!"
     It totally changed my evening around, it was so fun!  That's the true principle of accountability, anyway.  Preach My Gospel even mentions it, we should have a DESIRE to account for our work.  It makes the work more fun anyway :)
     We had the coolest thing happen at the L's.  This was before Sister Hammock was transferred.  We showed up, and Sister Lwasn't there, but T, the youngest answered the door.  He invited us in, and since all the kids and Sis. L's sister was there, we decided to go  in.  T sat us at the table, and we asked him if we should teach a lesson.  He perked up and said, "Of course!  You can teach ME!"  All of the kids ended up joining in and it was a great appointment! It is so cool to see how the faith of a child is really strengthening an entire family.
Sister Kutschke is here!  I don't know how I get so lucky with my companions!  I am already learning tons from her, one of those things is, "HOLY COW I HAVE BEEN ON MY MISSION A YEAR AND STILL CAN'T SPEAK GERMAN!"  Haha just kidding.  But it's so fun having a German companion that can really help me improve.  We only speak in German with each other, too, so I am hearing the language even more. 

But seriously, she is just the sweetest, most gentle and humble person I know.  I am excited for this next era of my mission with her :)
     I have one more thought because I have to wrap it up.  I was reading in Omni today and it mentions in verse 26: "..Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him.."
     I thought about that and thought of how literally I have found no greater happiness than the happiness that has come as I have striven to offer all of my soul, my desires, my difficulties and my pleasures up to him.  There is a freedom that comes, and a happiness that floods our lives as he show our trust in him by laying it all on the altar.
     I think lately I have also learned a lot about how prayer is a great tool to do so.  I have found myself praying more often when I have negative feelings or things are feeling overwhelming.  Even if it's just small things, I go into the bathroom, or the bedroom or wherever, and just start conversing with my Heavenly Father, you know, sort of filling him in on how I feel.  It's really changed how I feel, it's like my load has become even lighter.  Every single time I do that, without a doubt, I feel that lightening feeling.
     God really does love us. I really know he does!  I am just so happy to be a missionary.  Have I ever told you that?  I am just so happy, it's ridiculous!
I love you!
Sister Henry
A photo bit of Sherry humor: