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Monday, October 6, 2014

"Soul Food"

Pday iStein am Rhein, Switzerland.

(Some answers to questions Mom sent)
The Elders are teaching M now, we just felt like it was better for Him.  But he is still progressing well!  We haven't started an English class, but I got to teach German class last week and loved it!  F. (an investigator she had found in Freiburg and her friend also taught while serving in Freiburg) ended up getting baptized in my first transfer here in Singen.  As far as I know, he is doing well.
Yep I am still healthy.  But my body is so tired, I can feel the missionary schedule taking it's toll.  The last month or so, I am exhausted in the mornings.  The only thing that seems to be keeping my body going is our morning jog.  Without it I am totally shot.
Gosh, I left my study book at home.  But I thought it was cool how many people talked about sustaining the prophet.  I also loved what Elder Holland said, "I may not be my brothers keeper, but I am my brother's brother."

So I was feeling a little grumpy this morning and sort of grumbling, started my emails.

Fortunately I had a Ritter Sport in my bag that Elder Lee gave me the other day.  I had sworn off chocolate for this month so that I could pig out in November, but this was an emergency.
Somehow after a few pieces, I am chipper and happy again :)  That is why I titled this email soul food.  Chocolate fixes my soul.
I also have decided, since we jog almost every morning, I may rethink my chocolate fast...
General Conference was really cool.  Actually a lot of stuff this week was really cool.  Actually, you know what?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is just REALLY COOL.
First I will start off with why General Conference was really cool.  Saturday we were pretty busy running around with a few appointments and so the Saturday morning (which we watch in the evening) session snuck up on us.  We were walking down the street to the church when it dawned on me, "Woah!  We are walking to GENERAL CONFERENCE!"  Then I got that Christmas-Eve-Santa-is-coming feeling and thoroughly enjoyed the session.  I think one of my favorite parts, too, is just knowing that on the other side of the world, My family is watching the exact same thing that I am watching.  There's just a special spirit that unites us as we all listen to the words of the prophets together.
I also had a really cool learning experience through conference.  A little disappointing but I am grateful for the sure witness it gave to me.  We had an appointment before the viewing of the Saturday afternoon session (which was Sunday mid day for us over here).  The appointment ended up going long (which we assumed would happened but were stuck between a rock and a tight place for).  We drove back to the church, but at that point got back in time only for half of Elder Holland's talk and Elder Perry's, the last two of the session.
I was sitting their listening to their words and of course, I learned so much and it was so uplifting.  But I also just felt this deep sense of disappointment.  Just a disappointment that I had missed the opportunity to partake of the spirit that had come before.  Yes, I will be able to go back and watch them and read them.  But there is something special about that sacred time that is set aside to view the conference.
But, I am grateful.  Because, although I was sad, I was also taught that I do have a testimony and love of General Conference!  I do cherish listening to their words!  Now, because of this experience, I don't want to take a single session of conference for granted, ever.  Fortunately there was a wonderful Sunday Morning session which followed shortly afterwards!

The Lords teaches us in mysterious ways :)
Another cool thing this week.  We met with a man from Nigeria (with the Konstanz Elders and something really special happened.  We had kind of told him straight up that if he keeps drinking and partying and smoking, he isn't going to come closer to God.  We had sort of left it at that, but all of a sudden he had been getting up on Sunday mornings and coming to church.  In our last appointment, he told us about how the grace of God has been helping him resist that desire to smoke,and turn down his friends invitations to parties.

 We were so pleased, and a little bit surprised! He came to a couple of sessions of conference and we will just keep moving forward at his pace!  He has a desire to be baptized, we just have to prepare him and make sure he understands.

You know, it's so interesting because I really have learned on my mission that we are all individual.  I have taught a lot of different people and something I have seen is that progression is personal.  Everyone has their pace.  I think the adversary tries to tell us, especially as missionaries, that someone's spiritual progression should fit a certain timeline.  But that is simply not how it is.  Our entire life's purpose is to come unto God.  Just the fact that people have widely variable amounts of time they spend here on this earth should be a testimony to us that the pace of progression is individual.
The trick of helping someone progress in the Gospel is not to pray that they will be baptized on a certain date, or come to a certain activity.  The trick is praying and asking God to distill upon you a little bit of the perspective that he has for that persons progression.  Then taking that knowledge that he has meted unto you, and pondering how you could help that person along their path. 

Then after pondering and studying it out in your mind and in your heart, you should probably get back onto your knees and ask Heavenly Father if this plan that has come into your thoughts is the plan you should take.  You should probably also let him know that whatever his will may be for that person, you will do it.  Even if it means that you don't get to see them baptized before you get transferred.  Even if it means that you might have one less key indicator to report that week.  

Then, the next day, you should probably repeat the process.  As God will certainly mete another portion of that knowledge which is essential to your part in the progression of his child.  It goes back into what Elder Eyring talked about, continued revelation.
Don't worry, if I said I were perfect at this I would be a hypocrite.  It is hard to be fully engaged in the Lord's work, to take the time to figure out the needs of those you are serving and truly give your life to them.  It is in no way easy!  But...that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  Then we fail after a time.  So we then truly repent and try again.  And so forth.

At least, that has how my mission has seemed to go so far :)

You know it just is astounding to me how much God knows.  He knows it all, from the beginning to the end, and moreso because he understands what it means that there is no beginning and no end!  He knows everything, and most of all, he knows that specific person we are trying to help absolutely one hundred percent perfectly.

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself, because I forget to pray and ask him for his Help!  Ah, I must be a human or something.
Anyways, man, I am just learning tons on my mission.  I don't think I realize how much I am learning until I write it down in my journal or an email.  I am every day awed at how much God is teaching me.  
I know that he loves us.  He loves us so much and he wants us to come unto him.  He knows exactly what that takes and what that means, and he is guiding our lives to help us to do so.  At this point it's all up to us.  Are we going to take our personal progression into our own hands and move it forward?  Because we are the only ones that can.
I love you all so much!
Wunderschöne, großartige, liebe liebe Grüße,
Sister Henry

Hi Daddy!
Yeah I was pretty bummed about the no German thing too.  Mostly for the German speakers who don't speak English.  How lame would that be to have an American speaker speak in another language, and then you have to have it translated in English?
But I still enjoyed conference a lot :)
Let me know about the job!  It sounds like the one you have now is really good for you in a lot of ways, though.  So I don't think it would be too bad if you stayed there a little longer either :)  
I love you
Sher Bear

Photos from Sister Lee:

Sister Lee said: "Here are some action shots of Sherry! We were all invited to lunch at a member’s home for a birthday, there were several non-members there so the member asked the missionaries to sing. It was beautiful! Sherry is very careful not to overpower the other singers, they sounded great together.  The other pic is of “Chinese Ping Pong.” There must be a more politically correct way to say that but I don’t know what it is! J  [they are running around the table as they play] And the third pic is of German Class that Sherry taught."

1 comment:

We will forward your comments to Sister Henry!