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Monday, September 29, 2014

The "BEST" Mission in the World!

   (the weather has changed!)

Pday today!

Visiting Schwenningen for the Women's Conference Broadcast Sunday

Sherry has a dear friend in Kim-Joy, the Branch President's daughter. She loves to take photos with her, and with her camera, each week at church =)

First of all,

Singen is awesome.  I just feel so blessed to be in an area with such wonderful hearts! Yesterday was a really great day at church, not only did we have quite a few investigators with us, but the spirit of love that you feel with this little branch here is the best.  You can't help but feel at home when you walk in on Sunday.

Reading President's email today brought something to my mind that I thought would be great to share.

So I read an article in the Church News a little while back about the new mission presidents and their training.  One of the things they were told to do was to tell their Missionaries that they are in the best mission in the world. 
I thought it was kinda funny.  Here you have hundreds of mission presidents all over the world telling their missionaries that THEIR mission is the best in the world.  Every time I would hear it here in my mission I would just sort of chuckle to myself, as I knew that, for example, up there in Frankfurt, they were hearing the same thing.
Well it dawned on my today, just about 15 minutes ago, this really is the best mission in the world.  It is the best mission because it isn't the Alpenländische Mission, or the Tokyo mission, or the Vancouver, WA, USA mission.  It is the best mission in the world because, in fact, it is all one mission!  Yes, for logistical purposes there are mission boundaries, but in reality, there are no boundaries to this mission.  This mission is borderless and eternal.  It is the exact mission that read about in Moses 1:39  "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
This mission his His mission.  It is the mission of the most almighty, expansive, all knowing, and magnificent being in the universe.  His mission is just as Großartige as He is.  Now that, my friends, is something cool.
In this sense, then what does it mean to be a missionary?  Well, if His mission is borderless and eternal, then you may best bet that his mission doesn't just last 18 or 24 months on this earth.  It is so much more than just putting on your little black name tag and talking to people about the Gospel.

This mission is to help people discover who they are.  Whose they are!  It is to help people take their vision from their shoes and look up to their creator, to their loving Father.  It is to help people learn how to enjoy that beautiful sunset behind the rolling vineyards and oak trees, knowing that that sunset was put there just for them at that moment, to enjoy and cherish.
Really, this mission is hope.  It is hope that there is something better and something bigger than what we can see.  It is also the hope that comes from the knowledge that we can change.  I treasure that knowledge as much as any other principle that I have come to learn of in my life.

      I don't know about you, but for me Change and Hope are intertwined.  I can't hope for anything, if I don't think anything will ever change.  I also can't change anything, including myself, unless I have hope that some greater power than myself will assist me in the task to do so.
This mission is the best thing that will ever happen to you, you just gotta let yourself do it.
Man, I love the Gospel.  I love just being alive and being on this planet, you know?  As Elder Mickelson would say, "We are so blessed!"

I love you!
Sister Henry
A little note from Sister Kohler, the Mission President's wife, after I sent her a card:
"When I am with the missionaries I always think of my daughter and it just makes me love them even more than I already do.  Your daughter is such a ray of sunshine in the mission.  She is always happy, and smiling and cheerful.  I love it when I get to see her!  You must be so proud of her.  You should be!  She is a great missionary and I can tell that she blesses everyone around her."

Sherry has a dear friend in Kim-Joy, the Branch President's daughter. She loves to take photos with her, and with her camera, each week at church =)

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Heart is Singen!

Man, what a week!  It was a really great week.  It was a really nice week.  On Saturday, I got to experience and enjoy something that not every missionary gets to see and enjoy.  I was able to watch one of my friends go from hearing for the first time the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to making a covenant with God to continue and move forward on that path.  I just feel so grateful. 


It's such a sweet experience to watch someone be baptized, but the sweetness isn't in the baptism or confirmation itself.  The sweetness is knowing that someone wants to change and is working toward that change.  Moving forward from a former life and former habits to a better life that they can only see through their faith that they have cultivated.  For a long time on my mission, I thought that baptism was sort of everything.  That once you got someone through the gate of baptism, it was like your crossed a finish line.

But you know, I've been around the mission block ;)  There's something I have learned.  The Gospel, and progression in the gospel, is far greater than a few weeks.  It started a long long long time ago, and it will keep going for a long long long time.  That's why, it is a sweet experience to watch someone enter the waters of baptism.  But it is much sweeter to watch someone convert to the Gospel, to watch someone's heart change and watch that light come into their life as they learn of truths which they always wondered about.  That is the sweetest fruit I know of.  So, although for the first time on Saturday I was privileged to watch an investigator I taught enter the waters of baptism, I have been tasting the sweet fruit of missionary for a long time.  And, I have really learned that it doesn't end with baptism, but we have to continue to strengthen each other, lift each other, and help each other continue to change and be better for many days ahead.  In actuality, for eternity. 

Welcome to heaven!  I can tell you, it's great.

I think about how much time I have spent on my mission being stressed.  Just how much time I have been unhappy because of expectations in my head.  I feel like here in Singen Germany, I am learning how to just let go and roll with the punches.  To understand that I can't work harder than working hard, and to be okay with simply working hard.  To be okay with doing my best every day, and knowing that my best is not perfection, that I am not perfect but rather a human being. 

I have just really learned that I have to rely on the Lord.  Not just because He has asked me to, but because I cannot do things without Him.  But it is so true that with God, all things are possible. Well, not all things, but rather, with God, the best things are possible.  God isn't going to have us settle for less if He can help it.  With Him, He will only give us the absolute best. 

Sometimes we wince at what the absolute best looks like, because in our mind, that's not the best!  But then a few weeks or a few years down the road we realize, "Wait a second.  That really was the best He could have given me.  Man!  What a smart Father!"
He's a really smart Guy.  Actually, He is intelligence in itself, so He is VERY smart.  He knows it all, He knows exactly what we need and he knows exactly how it should be given to us.  We just have to let go and let Him do his work. 
I just look back at the last 14-15 months and shake my head at the lessons God has taught me.  14 months ago, what I thought I needed to go and experience on my mission is very different than what I actually needed to experience on my mission.  But God knew what I needed to experience and that's what he put me through.  Because he loves me.  He also knows what I need yet to experience, hence the fact that the future is ahead.  He loves us, He really does.

I love you all so much.  I am so grateful that I have a Mom that is able to let me experience my mission with all of you (through my blog, email, Facebook).  Thanks Mommy.  

Never forget that you are absolutely, positively, completely, and wholly loved by the most infinite, omnipotent, and kind being in the universe.
Liebe Grüße,
Sister Henry
Last pday we went to Hegne, a nunnery.  There wasn't much going on, but it was fun!

Oh and my flowers!  I planted them a few weeks after I got to Singen and they started blooming!  I was so excited at one and then they just kept going!

Five blossoms!
A few more pics from the Open House, including Sister Henry schooling the Elders at hoops in her skirt ;o)

Skinny minnie

Monday, September 15, 2014

"We have to shine so bright that we can't be missed."

Guess what?!  N is getting baptized on Saturday!  (the man on the far right)

​A really tender experience for me happened this week.  We had ward council on Thursday, and C had finished up the program for N's baptism.  She had asked him to pick a scripture out to have on the baptismal program and this is the one that he chose:
"...And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I mightknow these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his HolySpirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." Alma 5:45-46
     I read that on the back of the program and just thought, holy cow, I am so blessed!  I am so blessed that we have been able to watch N from the very start fully embrace the Gospel!  I feel so grateful and so blessed to call him my friend, and I am so entirely and truly excited for him to be baptized on Saturday!  I am so happy for him.
It has been so cool to watch the light come into his life.  To just see in these few short weeks how he has changed.  It truly is like a light has come into his eyes and he is just simply happier.  He just came into the internet shop to do something and he is simply so happy!  I know God has big things in store for him, and I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with Him and to be able to have him be my friend.
     My Birthday was really great!  Another year come and gone.  It is crazy to think that my entire 20th year was as a missionary.  That is a great way to start out my third decade.  I am excited, now, too, because when I go home I may get mission sick.  But now, if I ever miss the smell of public transportation on a Friday evening, all I have to do is walk into a bar.  Just kidding, that was just a joke.  But I have become very acquainted with the smell of Alcohol on my mission.  
     It's pretty sad, actually.  People are so addicted here.  My heart just aches for them, for the drunk men you see in the streets at 5:00 in the evening.  You want to help them, you know?  I feel so blessed to have been raised in a family where I was taught principles which kept me far away from any sort of addictive substance.  Of course, the choice is always ours, no matter where we are raised.  But it really is a bonus to have been raised how I was.
The Gospel truly blesses us. It is like that talk, do we really know what we have?  Do we really understand how truly blessed we are to have the knowledge and the principles that we have?  I don't think I really understand, I think I am learning more and more every day, but I don't think I truly understand.  To have such a vast access to so much truth!  To know who we are, where we came from, why we are here.  That is something really special, something that we should really be grateful for.
It's also something that we should share.  People notice that we are happy, that we have something different.            That even though sometimes life is hard, we have an inner peace knowing that it will all be okay.  Everyone wants that deep down inside, too.  There are just a lot of loud noises in the world, a lot of distractions.  So we really need to do our best, as members of the church, to shine as bright as we can.  We have to shine so bright that we can't be missed, you know?
      I think that's my biggest goal after my mission.  To simply always be this bright.  To walk around a city, and still have people notice a difference, a happiness.  Of course, it takes work to have that bright light.  It takes scriptures study, it takes prayer, and it takes church.  The more we study our scriptures, the more sincerely we pray, and the more active we our in our covenants as a church member, the brighter that light gets.
     Man, we are just so blessed!  We are so blessed.
I love you all, I am not counting down or anything...but...I am excited to see you all in like 12 weeks ;)       (Mom: 11 1/2! No app, just my brain doing the math haha)

Sister Henry

PS Thanks for taking care of the school stuff, it sounds like it should all work out no matter what.  It is kinda weird jumping back in for Winter Semester, but everything will work out how it is supposed to.   I have only heard really good things about Sister Sanft, I think it is awesome that she is your friend.  It's not coincidence that Elder Sanft and I are serving in the same district, I think you and her were supposed to get close and help each other. 

With her Bishop's daughter, and the ward mission leader, he's quite a fun character!

Her beautiful birthday meal from Oma

Birthday party at the Lee's