Monday, December 30, 2013

Post Christmas Blues

Things this week were pretty good, and mildly depressing.

Christmas was good, except for the fact that I never got to talk (to my family) on Christmas.  (Problems getting a good internet connection.)  I definitely felt better after talking (to my family) on the 26th.

This week was hard in general because we decided to leave some investigators for a time because they aren´t progressing.  The problem is that we don´t have that many in general, and we can now visit all our investigators in one day.

Although this has its advantages on Saturday when we invite people to church, it is sad.

With our remaining investigators we are working to do Noches de Hogar (family home evenings), to help them know the members and feel more comfortable coming to church.  It was interesting to see our weekly datos yesterday and be able to see a correlation between number of member lessons and progressing investigatores.  It really hit home to me how important the members (you guys) really are.  If someone has no one but the missionaries, their only impression is us.  They see us as predicadores (preachers), and it's difficult to understand what church is really like.

We also had a plan to help change how we work with the members in the ward, which was scrapped yesterday after talking with some members of the presidencies.  So last night we did an emergency missionaries of Tatumbla meeting to talk about a new plan.  We finally decided on a 40 day fast (again) with individual members rather than families.  This time we will just make sure it is widely published and announced.

Other than the sad parts of this week, I am really good.  I am looking forward to the new year, knowing that as long as I have a better attitude, it will be a better year.

This morning I had a beautiful confirmation while on the bus to Teguc that the sacrament really can wipe away our sins and mistakes.  Right here at the new year that was especially comforting.  It means that I can look at the past, see mistakes, and now I can fix them.

I know that you guys can too.

Elder Henrie

The pinata from the ward party.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Skyping for Christmas

I asked Graig what his favorite part of Christmas in Honduras was and he said, "Going Christmas caroling with the Hermanas".

Monday, December 16, 2013

First [Baptism] Dates for this area

The biggest news is that this week we got our first fechas (dates) in this area.  That means we committed someone to be baptized and we are preparing them for a specific date.  After many weeks without, it was good to call in our weekly datos (data) last night.  Our District Leader, who knows how hard we have been working, was proportionally excited.  So the first week of January, we will hopefully have our first family and baptisms!

In general, it is interesting to be near Tegucigalpa for Christmas. Some parts are very Americanized, and we see a lot of Christmas trees and Lights.

We are arranging to skype on Christmas Day.  We will probably do it in the capilla (chapel) with the laptops of members, so I can show you the capilla!  We might also do it in our house, but right now the capilla seems the best option.

I learned how to make flour tortillas last night, or at least explain we had a noche de hogar con las Hermanas (family home evening with the sister [missionaries]) and we made Baleadas.  (Note from Mom: I assume there were members or investigators there as well.)  Elder Osmond was free to see how to make the dough, and then I was free to see how to knead the dough and cook it, so collectively we know now how to make flour tortillas.  We will share our knowledge tonight as we attempt to make some.

Q&A with Mom:

Q. I would love to hear your plans for celebrating Christmas and what you are doing with your investigators to teach them about Christmas.
A. Right now, our teaching hasn´t really changed much.  We still teach the same gospel.  We are kind of changing how we contact now.

Q. Any special musical numbers or ward activities?  
A. Our ward is doing a cena navideña (Christmas dinner) that we are inviting investigators to and we do have one number.  I am thinking of translating "Little One".

Q. Have you sung with Elder Osmond yet?  
A. Every lesson :)

P.S. Everyone is really jealous of how much Pouch I get.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A picture is worth a 1000 Words...

I guess that is what Graigry was thinking when he sent only pictures this week... no letter.

 me at the top of the Aztez temple
mi with my head en a snake at a old temple (that was created recently as a tourist trap)
The baleadas we made, that were heavenly.  I am learning to cook more and more.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A day late but all is well...

Well, first of all, sorry I didn`t write yesterday.  We went to the Picacho or a really large Statue of Christ, kind of like the one in Brazil, but in Honduras.  I did take lots of pictures, but I forgot my camera. pictures this week.

We somehow managed to have a perfect plan, eat a great lunch, and arrive late at the house.  So, we didn`t write yesterday.

The biggest news is that we had changes on Friday and I lost my trainer Elder Ortiz.  He went to Dan Lee (fondly called the east by the missionaries) to be a Zone Leader there for his last 4 changes.  I got a new comp here in Tatumbla, another gringo named Elder Osmond from South Jordan.  He is actually related to the Osmond brothers, They are his grandparents.  It is amazing how popular they are here.

We get along really well and we have really similar interests.  We both feel like we can work well together and we have made a lot of great plans for our area.  So far that means that we have been somehow been finding ways not to sleep, though I promise we try.  We always manage to have something happen, from planning a massive activity in our area, to the Hermanas calling us last night at 11:15 to make sure we remembered we promised we would serve with them this morning.

We both have less that 6 months in the mission, with Elder Osmond only having one more change than me.  Luckily we both feel like we have the language pretty good, but we did have to set some ground rules to make sure we both still practice and that English is not our priority.

We plan to have alot of fun together, and we decided that we are actually going to cook (a lot of Elder`s in this mission just have someone cook for them), so I will tell you how that goes next week.  So far we have only made pasta together, though it was fantastic.

To help explain our last days, we spent Thanksgiving in the house of a member, Hermano Wiltrago, who is the son in law of Abuela.  He has 3 kids living in Utah going to school at BYU, so they (he and his wife) are going to Utah on the 12th to visit them and they offered to bring stuff for me and to take stuff back.  I`m thinking of sending my Journals with him, seeing as I have already finished 2.  I am also thinking of sending all the pictures I currently have so that you guys can copy them to the home computer and then return him the memory, so I can use it again.

They will return in about the second week of January, so if you think of anything you want to send with them, its pretty direct, their house is like 2 blocks from ours.

I love you all and I know that every day I feel your faith and your prayers.

Elder Henrie

 mi y mi area
El Paraecho

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What a Week!

Abuela (Grandma) and me.  
Abuela is famous in the mission, she has officially declared herself the grandma of all missionaries everywhere

We had until Friday to invite and teach, so we did that as we could.  We also had our first Divisions with our Lidere de Districto this week, Elder Roldan.  He came to our area, and Elder Ortiz went to his area with Elder Smith, one of the guys that came with me from the CCM.
I had the opportunity to give 2 blessings this week, one to an investigator, and the other to a young member.  In both I could feel the spirit and I am eternally grateful for el Sacerdocio (the priesthood).  It is such a blessing to know that when you need the help of God more directly in your life, you can literally use his power to bless your life.
From Saturday until Lunes (Monday) we were cerrado (closed) in our house, in case something happened during elections.  I read almost the entire book of Mosiah (aloud, in Spanish, while taking notes), and I literally washed every piece of clothing I had that was dirty but what I was wearing.
We were "released" ( a joke) for about 2 hours on Sunday a ir a iglesia (to go to church).  Because of elections it was only an hour. (Elections here are on Sunday so more people can come.)
I also marked my scriptures with colored tabs to help me more easilly find scriptures during lessons this week.  I stole the idea from my companion, who uses his all the time.  The side of my scriptures now looks like a beautiful array of colors.
My funny story of the week was one of the first lessons I taught with these tabs was the restauracion (restoration).  All was good until Elder Roldan (this was during divisions), asked me to find James 1:5, and I had forgotten to mark it (how embarrassing, its quite important).  To make matters worse, I couldn`t seem to find Santiago (James) at all, and I had to give my scriptures a Elder Roldan to find it.  The lesson went well, and we gained an investigator.
We have changes this week, and there is a possibility I could lose Elder Ortiz (after this week I am officially "trained").  I don`t know if I feel ready, but I can put it in the hands of the lord and trust that he knows what is best for me.
I love you all!  I am excited for Christmas!  Please remember always that God loves you and looks out for you, you just have to find the blessings!

Elder Henrie

One thing I sent for him was the testimonies of all of his Anderson cousins and Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents.  Warren translated them into Spanish and I put a picture of each person with them.  They are a 1/4 page and cut out so he can glue them into a Book of Mormon if he likes.  I asked him what he thought he might do with them and he said:

"I`m thinking I am going to share them with different investigators to help them understand that there are other members of the church besides 20 year old young men.  I especially am excited to use the testimonies of people that are married and have families, because this is something I can`t really relate to."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seeing the "Salvation of God"

All the Misioneros de Tatumbla, our area

Not a lot happened this week to be honest.  The biggest thing is that we had a Stake Conference in our Stake.  It was good and my favorite talk was by the Stake President, who talked about if you want a ward to grow and progress, you need to be 100% in your energy, everyone in the ward.  Because when everyone is involved and you work together, you can accomplish so much more in less time.
My biggest spiritual experience this week was Saturday/Sunday, we had been trying hard to find an investigator to go to church with us, becaus they can´t be babtized unless they go to church!  We talked with all the people we have, and no one could go for different reasons.  We walked the entire hill in our area before conference on Sunday to try to bring people (I was pooped), but no one could.  So we went to church expecting no one.
This is where my scripture theme for this change comes into play, its...D&C 123:17.   It talks about how we do all we can and then we wait to see the Salvation of God.
We arrived and one of the YW from the area of the Hermanas invited a friend to come, and he lives in OUR AREA! This was the week he decided to come, and he was our investigator in church!  It was a beautiful little miracle.
Things are heating up a little bit for the Electiones in Honduras this Sunday.  As Missionaries that means we explain to people we can´t vote, and that we don´t support any specific party.  Political rallyes for the 9 main parties (yes 9) are everywhere and so are advertisements.  We will see who wins...
I love you and I feel your prayers, thank you for your love and support.  I love reading your letters and emails.
Elder Henrie

Monday, November 11, 2013

Slow but Great Week

Yep, thats me in Little Ceasers, with a 5 buck pizza (here its 99 Limpira Pizza)
The Coke is not mine, they are against the rules for missionaries here (because we are being examples), but the table next to ours didn´t finish theirs, and not knowing we couldn´t drink it, gave it to us.  
We gave it to a member we happened to meet (at least I think he was a member...he liked sitting with missionaries at least, maybe it was the soda...)

Well, by the numbers, this week was kind of a slow week, but by how tired I am, it was great.

We´ve had it a little rough because we don´t know our area very well, and its all very hilly. On Friday, we went to La Montaña, and because we finished up there late, and it had rained all day, we decided not to take the little trail we usually take for safety reasons. The other option was to walk along the road, so we ended up walking about 1.5 hours to get home. In total I estimated that we walked 12 km that day (about 8 miles), but that may just be me bragging. All I know is that we slept well that night!
This is me in the Montaña on Friday, the day it rained a ton and we walked a ridiculous amount.  Yes I used my jacket. I have been told it snows up there sometimes, so I´m going to have a sort of white christmas.

This week because my other Journal only has like 11 more pages, I bought a new notebook, which are expensive here (or at least in the stores I like to go to). But its Avengers themed, and includes stickers, so I don´t feel too bad. It should last me past Into about February, if current writing length holds. So far that I have heard, I´m one of the few missionaries that makes a conscious effort to keep a daily journal, but I want a daily record as well, so that doesn´t bother me much!

This week we had a great little District Meeting where we talked about how you can receive the promptings of the spirit. One of the things that hit me is the difference between studying (estudiar) and really studying (escrudinar). One of the things one of the Hermanas in our District mentioned is studying with questions. I realized that even though I have been studying, and I pray before and after my study and everything, I hadn´t had a really directed study like that for a while. So Saturday (the first day we really had to study after District MTG) I started reading the Book of Mormon with questions. It became a powerful experience for me as I read and found answers for the difficulties of God´s investigators (that we have the opportunity to teach) and some of my own.

One of the things I´ve struggled with in the mission is that when things don´t work out, when the people we wanted to teach aren´t there, or when you get the feeling that they don´t want to talk to you, its difficult for me. I get depressed, and for me that means I focus on the failures, or what I think went wrong. Although this is good to a point (its how you improve), when I dwell on it, it drives the spirit away and with that goes the best of my Spanish, meaning I can become kind of useless in a lesson. Its something I´ve been thinking about for a while, and on this Saturday, I asked what things I could think about to lift me from my sorrows.

Surprisingly (for me at least), the answer I got was that I needed to remember my Temple Covenants, or the ones my parents made that affect me. Or just to remember the feeling of the temple. Doing this helped me remember the best of this life, family, and God. It brings the spirit, and with the spirit, comes the confidence to do the Lord's work.
Our new house (or at least part of it).  It is pretty big, and I like spreading out.  
There is also a spacious yard and a Patio.

Our new house is great, I feel comfortable, and I love to relax in one of the large comfy chairs and read the book of Mormon. I actually didn´t eat that many oranges this week, but I plan to eat more this week!

Know that I love you all and can feel your prayers.

Elder Henrie

PS. Thanks to all the people that send me letters, I do get them, I just don´t usually mention it. Thanks Aunt Debbie, AUNT Connie, The Davis Family, Mom (of course), Tyler, Melanie.

Elder Ochoa

Monday, November 4, 2013

New House, All is Well

First of all, we did move.  Its a bit expensive, but the house is huge and supposedly has hot showers (we have to figure out how to use the sophisticated thingy that`s attached to the shower).  Its nice to have the change from almost no space, to extra space, I feel like I slept better last night because my bed had no clothes or other stuff on it.  For any would be missionaries that were worried by my last letter, realize that the President of your mission understands that comfort is important to study well and feel the spirit, and will accommodate (to a point) you living the best option in your area (you cannot rent a mansion, sorry).  
The only sad thing is that we found out yesterday that the Stake President wants to change the boundaries of our area so its actually mas arriba (farther up) the mountain that we thought.  So because right now our House is at the end of the old border, we might be house hunting again, but the President approved for us to live there until we can find something similar mas arriba.  But we will enjoy the house while we have it.  
The new house even includes lemon and orange trees (which are really common here), and the oranges are fresh right now, so I`m looking forward to an orange or 2 (or 5) a day, plus fresh lemonade.  I plan to use them while we have them, though I promise I won`t eat more than is healthy.
Because it also has a nicer oven than we had in our last house, I`m also thinking of cooking more.  Also, because we actually have a cheaper store closer to our house.  Its called Paiz, but based on the bags and everything, its WalMart. (the bags say WalMart in small lettering on the bottom).  Like I said last week we also have other big American Stores, like Office Depot, Cinemark (which we can`t use), and PriceMart, which I think is Costco.  It has the same layout, and you need a membership to enter (one of the Assistants to the President has one you can borrow). 
This means it is easy for me to find and eat Peanut Butter, which is a nice little treat I got myself.  Its a bit expensive here, but the little bit of Peanut Butter is a good pickup when I need it.  (its my Tub of Happiness, if anyone gets the reference).
Meanwhile this week we spent a lot of time getting to know the members and the area.  Most of the recent baptisms in our area have come from an area called La Montana, which is a 40 minute Mototaxi ride from our house.  Everyone there has farms, and the missionaries have learned the best way to have a person listen to you is to serve them in that area, so we will be doing a lot of weeding, and other gardening. I also helped gather fresh cilantro, which was a sweet smelling experience.  We usually take a mototaxi up, and we walk down, because there is a path down that is pretty fast.  It means that we have been doing a lot of walking, and yesterday we were both pretty sore.  Its also really built my testimony of member missionary work, because we have a couple of fiel (faithful) members who come with us to serve.  One, Sandy Salgado, knows the investigators better than we do (because we`re new), and knows who to visit and when. 
Everyone here is really nice, and there is almost 0 danger of anything bad happening.  I don`t know quite how to explain it, but everyone here is kind of laid back and is content to just say hello as you pass.  We`re still careful, but I feel really safe here.
Because our area looks and feels a lot like snowbird, or Utah in general, I feel really comfortable here.  All that hiking was actually great practice for this area, which is Hiking every day.  But its beautiful and interesting, which is a plus.

Halloween was good.  We had dinner with a member, it was good, but we didn't do any specific Halloween stuff. 
Know I`m safe, comfortable, and working.  There is de masiado (more than enough) work here, so we depend on the Lord to direct us where we need to go.

 Please send this to National Geographic, I'm sure they'll want it!
 My first MotoTaxi with my companion
 A look at our area from one of its highest points in {La Montana}.
 All this is our area, its huge!  There is more than this as well
Moving day.  The Guy on the truck is Hmo M., a recently returned missionary of 11 months that is always eager to go out with us.  He speaks English almost perfectly, with only a hint of an accent on certain words.  He went to San Pedro Sula (Honduras).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crazy Week

Things are kind of crazy right now.

Know how last week I told you I probably wouldn´t be transferred for 6 months? Well that changed after I wrote you Monday, and we left Tuesday Morning. After several heavenly (They have hot water!) days in the Mission Home, we are now in Tatumba. Technically we are opening an area, which in this mission means that instead of having one experienced Elder and one Junior Elder, you are both new to the area and know nobody. There are Hermanas here and they know the area, so we have been relying on them to help show us around. The only annoying part is that we need to look for a house. The House we are living in isn´t a house, its literally a room smaller than Melanie´s room, but with two beds and a table and a fridge. We have literally no room, and there is only 1 plug, so we have to decide what is most important to have plugged in at a time. I´m excited to work in our new area, but it is going to be uncomfortable for a while until we find a new house. We have several leads, we only need to check them out.

The area is really beautiful. It looks like someone took the Uintas from Utah and plopped it in Honduras. It is only 40 minutes from Teguc, which is good, because there are literally no stores in our area. But luckily Teguc has everything, right now I´m writing in an Office Depot that looks exactly like the States. Everything is also a lot greener. It is one of the colder areas in the mission, which basically means Utah in the Fall. I may actually use my jacket (starting in San Lorenzo, one of the hottest areas, I was worried I wouldn´t)!

I promise I took plenty of pictures, but just my luck, I forgot my camera cord, so next week I guess I will be sending a ton...including a foto of me with President and Hermana Hernandez, which I asked for because I lost my other one. They really spoiled us, and when we arrived at our room, my companion told me to enjoy the time with them, because this is a lot different.

I think this area will be good for me, It is big, and we may be regularly walking about 9 miles per day depending on what part of our area we want to visit. It is beautiful, and reminds me a lot of American Fork canyon or something. Close to the city, but an island of tranquility and beauty. There are more houses here of course.

There is a ward here, and a Chapel that looks like its from the US. We have only talked with a few of the members, but they seem eager to work with us, so that´s good!

I´m excited to see how things go!

Elder Henrie

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ordinary Week - No transfers

Things were pretty good this week. We didn´t do anything to out of the ordinary.

There was a bit of trouble in the area next to ours, so we were asked to remain inside for a day just in case. Hopefully that is the end of it.

Honduras is nearing a presidential election, so we may have to deal with that soon, I hope that it all goes smoothly.

In general I am safe and happy.

Have a good week everyone!

I survived my first change!

Elder Henrie

This is my zone, minus me and Elder Hernandez and Elder Kliener. They are a good group, and we lost about 9 of them this week to changes, which was sad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bicycles, Big Spiders, and Rain Storms

Goodbye to Elder Amaya

Elder Amaya left this week, and it was a little sad.  The day he left with Elder Ortiz and Elder Vasquez (one of the Zone Leaders) was also the day of interviews with the president, so our Zone was all gathered together.  

I was on splits with the other zone leader, Elder Sears (de California), after they left, we realized that neither of us had keys for our houses.  So we jumped in the car with Hermana Hernandez (wife of President Hernandez) and drove through a freak flash flood kind of storm. We arrived at the bus stop and invited them to wait in the car for the bus with us.  The bus came, and because no one was out, it began to leave.  Being the closest Elder to the bus, I jumped out and ran to catch it (it being the last bus of the day to Tegucigalpa).  I then helped get Elder Amaya´s stuff on the bus.  I was only outside for about a minute, but I was soaked!  It was quite an adventure.
 President Hernandez and his wife with the bike pinata
The first and last bike I will use on my mission (it was a pinata).

Because our zone had the most baptisms last month we had a little party with the president during interviews. We bought a pinata shaped like a bike because we were told for sure that we can´t use bikes this week. There was a rumor floating around that we could.  Some Elders actually bought bikes, and now have to deal with the bother of selling them.  This is definitely a walking mission.

We have been visiting the pareja (husband) of a member this week.  He is interested, but always seems to not be there when we can teach him.  But she is a great friend of the missionaries and we usually talk with her.  She has been having a really hard time lately, wanting to follow all the commandments, but having a hard time with her pareja (husband).  This week she seemed especially down, and the scriptures and song we shared didn´t seem to do much.  

I was just sitting there, wondering what we could do to lift her, and I had a prompting to give her a blessing.  I remembered somewhere in the white bible that she needed to ask, so I quickly asked my companion.  I then explained a blessing and asked if she wanted one.  Her immediate answer was yes.

Then in a flash back to BYU days, we gave her a blessing, with my companion Elder Ortiz (de Pueblo, Mexico) as the voice.  I admit I don´t remember the words, and I didn´t understand much, but after she was crying tears of happiness.

I testified of the power of the priesthood, and that I knew that Christ had suffered this, and she could use his help. My voice got a little shaky because the spirit was strong.  I don´t know what was said, but I know we helped a child of God.  That was really special.

Other than that, a lot of normal work.

A tarantula that was in our house.  I offered to pick it up and put it outside, but was advised to use the broom.  It was definitely one of the biggest spiders I have ever seen.  I hope Jessica is ok.
Yo con la famila Pavon.  Great family in the ward.
The mark of an Elder here that was "Born in the south"  My iguana belt.
It cost 350 limpiras, or about 17.50, which is good for a belt.  I have been assured it will last longer than a leather belt, but I got it for the novelty, I will wear it to special days and such.  I was told by Elder Ortiz that this color (the deep green) is rare in iguanas.  This is an example of something cool I can buy only here.
The closest thing I could get to a sunset.
Yep, that´s Honduras.  I finally found a good scenery spot.

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference

Wow, what a week!

We spent most of this week inviting people to conference it seemed.  We knew that it would strengthen their testimonies and we wanted as many people as possible to go.  We committed as many as we could.

Then conference actually came.  For us it meant getting out the door to invite people, and then walking the 40 minutes to conference.  At least ours is close enough we didn´t have to take a bus like some other Elders in our zone.  Because the ´´gringo room´´ hadn't been set up yet, I got to watch the first session on Saturday in spanish.  

Depending on the translator doing the talk, I could under stand a lot, or nothing.  One of the seventy spoke really fast, and the poor translator was just spitting out the words.  I got notes from that talk, but I didn´t understand a lot!

On Sunday morning, we were packed with people from everywhere!  Not many could come Saturday because of work, but they could all come Sunday Morning!  The power actually went out and so they hooked up a generator to keep going.  I sadly missed Elder Scott´s talk.  But it was still great.

After Conference, it was back to work for us, but it was good with the spirit of conference!

I fasted this weekend because I wanted to follow the example of Alma in Alma 5.  I don´t know why this didn´t really sink in before my mission, but I respect Alma a lot more.  I admit that in my life I´ve had my moments where I want to know, and I ask for an ´Alma Experience´, I want an angel, I want something big.  In Alma 5 Alma is talking about how he gained his testimony, and he says roughly (in my translation to modern English):

I know this is true, and you want to know how I know?

(at this point there was probably someone who didn´t make the cut into the book of Mormon that said) 

Well, duh, you saw an angel, were knocked unconcious for three days and woke up talking about how you were made clean and wanted to share the gospel!

But then I can imagine Alma getting really quiet and powerful, like any prophet that wants to share something deep (have you ever noticed that President Monson might raise his voice a little, but never yells?), and says:

I fasted and prayed for many days so that I could know this.

This has really hit me hard in my mission because I have been having the doubt (like probably every missionary), Do I know enouph?  Because I haven´t seen an angel, I havn´t seen Christ and God like Joseph Smith, I haven´t miraculously healed someone, etc etc.  But reading this, I realized something that I´ve been taught all my life, but never quite clicked to my own life...Angels do not bring testimony.

Sure Joseph Smith saw Dios y Jesuchristo!  It was a marvelous experience that ended the apostasy.  But he wasn´t ready to organize the church until 10 years later!  Even after Moroni directed him to the plates, he told him you are going to have to wait 4 years or so to mature and prepare before you translate these.

I have been stressing this with investigators this week and I know I will do it through all my mission.  God does not expect us to know everything.  He gave us the veil so we would forget.  It is only here on earth, as we make our decisions blind to the knowledge we had, that our true character can be refined, and strengthened.

I know that I don´t know everything, and I have been learning to take comfort in that.  If I knew everything, it would mean I have nothing to learn, and if I have nothing to learn, then my life would be kind of boring.  

I liked in conference when ¨ (Can´t Remember Who) ¨ talked about how God chose our trials for us because he knew what things we need to learn.  This is part of the reason our eventual deaths can be viewed as peace.  It means that person has learned everything they need too.  They passed, and now they get to go enjoy the peace and happiness of God.

I love you all, I think of you often, have a good week, and remember that God Loves you!

Elder Henrie

Note from Mom:  I found out that Graig didn't have a pillow so I told him to go and buy one.  He sent this picture to show me his new pillow.  I'm not sure why his companions' beds don't have sheets on them.  Apparently he is sleeping on some kind of mattress on the floor.

Monday, September 30, 2013

"Buenas" from San Lorenzo

The road here is a bridge over a dry river bed.  Unless it rains.  
The rain fills up the 3-4 feet until the bridge.  As you can see, 
the water doesn`t have far to go.  I wore my boots this day, 
for which I was very grateful.  They really are waterproof!

This week was pretty good, the big story I have is that in the huge storm we had (the one where the water is up to the bridge), part of our roof collapsed (a small part) in the other room. My clothes got wet, and a lot of my old letters, (including some cards) drowned. I am grateful now that the Lord reminded me to back up my pictures and my letters. I still have all of them on my camera.

The new camera is great. Things are pretty good. My companion told me he thinks I know more Spanish than an Hermana that has been here almost 3 months. I am grateful now for my semester of Spanish at BYU.

We had a baptism this week! Jaimie is 11 (but says 12) and was kind of nervous. I think it helped to see the baptism of some other Elders first. She really seemed to enjoy the experience. We are also working to prepare her sister and try to reactivate their parents.

Our area is good, and we are plenty busy right now. We should hopefully get a bunch of people to conference to get them excited. We might also have a Wedding in October. Which means plenty of pictures and stuff.

Our branch is small, but growing, and we usually have a baptism every week.

The missionaries are well known in this area, and we say a lot of ¨Buenas¨ which basically means anything from hello or goodbye depending on if you are coming or going. We also use it to announce we have arrived somewhere. It seems more popular than Hola in our area.

There are lot of dogs in our area, and this one was especially cute. He reminded me of a little stuffed dog I used to have called Aragorn.

My spiritual thought this week is about conference. To help myself prepare for the conference this week, I have been reading the last conference. As part of the spirit of the whole thing, I try to make sure I can be open to revelation, and it has strengthened my testimonies that the Heavens are not closed.

For some reason, my study has seemed to focus on how to teach and what kind of person I want to be. Both good topics for a missionary. I especially like how important it is that we build our testimonies slowly over time, and then they are strong.

A thought that came to me that I used a lot is from 2 Ne 31, when Nephi talks about baptism. Probably wherever you are in the world, or whoever you are talking too, they are a little taken aback when their baptism gets close. We had several investigators that were nervous when we started talking about dates. There seems to be an idea, that I even have thought, that baptism is the end of conversion.

For the missionary, we think that because that is usually when we turn the person over to the fellowship of the members. For the investigator, it is because it is the first big commitment that they need to make. It can seem so big, that they are reluctant to do it because of just how big it seems.

I shared several times this week when Nephi talks about Baptism as the gate to eternal life. It is far from the end of our conversion, it is the beginning of years of enduring to the end. We will not know everything, we may not even have a solid testimony that the church is true, but when we decide to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and make a covenant with him, he blesses us.

I think that it is important, that the first thing you do after baptism is called el don (gift) of the Holy Ghost. Because it is really a gift, something that God has given us to help us with our continued conversion. It is the gift that allows us to learn and to change, and to gain a testimony that has incredible strength.

To those of you who feel that your testimony is not as strong as you want it to be (yes, I am quoting Elder Holland a little) I urge you to start reading the scriptures. As you read them prayerfully, and write notes and thoughts as you read, you can feel the spirit testify to you that the church is true, and that God loves you. There is nothing more comforting than this knowledge, that you know who you are, and what you can become. You can become like God, living with him forever in glory.

The big house is the house of the owner of our house (the one with the person in front of it).  I believe they are a mixed member family.  The smaller cute red one is ours.
(See if you can find the error in the picture, look at the swimming pool)

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Giant Shark, Fried Oreos, and more Q & A

Q.  What are you doing for service?

A.  I don't know as we haven´t had service yet.  The day we were supposed to do it, it fell through, and because I can´t speak spanish perfectly yet, I don´t know why.  We did help clean the church though, I got to use my mad mopping skills.

Q.  What do you do for daily exercise?

A.  Walk.  To be honest, I use the time in the morning to shower, and have a great breakfast.  I also use it as a little extra study time.  However today, we are getting a disk of P90X from the Zone leaders, so I will start doing that.

I assume because of all the speed walking we do everywhere I'm probably not gaining weight, its just turning to muscle.

Q.  What is the church building like?

A.  I have some pictures for you, but the building we meet it used to be a house I think.  It is very pretty, and the architecture seems to like large open spaces.

Q.  What does the area look like?  flat? rolling hills? A lot of trees?

A.  Flat, wet, and random weeds (that isn't meant to sound depressed).  We live in an area that has a lot of houses, so although I can see mountains that are green all around us, we don't spend time in that area.  It reminds me of where we live in Lehi actually, but the houses are smaller, and the windows are all barred.  There are a lot of trees that people have, but it is more like the trees we have, they are there for looks, we aren't in the jungle.

Q.  How are you sleeping?  Do you have a pillow?  Any trouble with bed bugs?

A.  I don´t think I have trouble with bed bugs.  I have been sleeping well, because we work and walk all day, and I am pretty tired at the end of the day.  I try however to write in my journal every night, so when I come home I have a lot more details to share that are too long for a journal.

I don´t actually have a pillow, so I have taken to putting my laundry bag inside the pillow protector you had me buy, and ´putting my pillowcase over that.  Its not the most comfortable thing ever, but for me its better than nothing.

The only trouble sleeping I have had is this morning, I woke up about 3 times before 6 :15, and I didn't feel very rested.  At 6:15 I tried to get up, but when I started my morning prayers, I fell asleep again in a weird position so my neck hurts a little.

Q.  Describe one thing you have learned or thought about this week.

A.  I can´t really name a specific experience, but I lot of my week I have been thinking about how we are called to teach those that are ready.  Its interesting to look around and think about everyone how they need the gospel, but we literally can´t teach everyone.  The nice thing about this area is we don´t spend a lot of time specifically finding people.  Most of the people we teach are friends or family of members.  I can only think of really one time so far where we went tracting.  Here in this part of the mission, that consists of standing outside a house, and yelling Buenas, which people in this area seem to say more than hola.  If they have time for a message, we teach them.  We found someone our first try, so we didn't tract very much.

Anyway, sorry for the random sidetrack.  Everyday I see everyone and I think about how they could use the gospel, but we can´t teach everyone.  We find those that are ready, and teach them.

It made me think about how in the missionary work in our own area, we don´t need to call the missionaries about everyone that isn't members, instead, we give them specific names of people that we have regular contact with.  Then they automatically have a friend in the church, and the missionaries have a member that can hopefully go to lessons.

That is another thing, I appreciate more now having a normal person.  Everyone here knows the missionaries, even if they don´t all want to listen to them.  They know we are preachers, and that we do it all day.  But when we teach, and we can say ^^aqui es Hermana __________, quien es su amigo de escuela.  Ella es un miembro de la iglesia, y ella tiene un testimonio tambien^^ (Here is sister __________, who is your friend from school.  She is a member of the church, and has a testimony also).  Suddenly the gospel is more than a good message taught by the Elders, it is something real, that has helped someone they know.  It helps them realize how it can help them.

Q.  How often do you get your dear elder letters?

A. I got the ones from Sept 8 today.  So I guess they take about 2 weeks.  Also, the zone leaders have to make the 3 hour trek to Tegucigalpa and back, so it depends on if they have time.

In the spirit of backing things up, and because I don´t want to carry around all the letters you have been sending me, I have been using an extra memory card to take pictures of my letters.  That way If I need extra space in my bags, I can through them away.  Don´t be afraid, I am keeping my favorites, like Melanies missionary horse.  Also, I will keep as many as I can, this is just in case.

Q.  Are there some branch members you are getting along well with or who are helpful in your missionary work?

A.  La Family Pavon (The Pavon Family) is one of our favorite families to use.  He has been a member for close to 15 years, and his children are some of the few to have raised more in the church.  Especially his daughter Dina (about 25), is really active and has a strong testimony.  Their entire family loves to talk to the missionaries, and are willing to help any way we can.  Usually when we go over there, they offer us free bags of COLD water, which is nice.  For a while Dina cooked lunch for us, but now she is in school, studying law.

They have given us several refferals in their area, and are happy to let us use their home for a lesson or a noche de hogar.  They also have a small shop, so if we need anything small during the week, instead of going to Centro, we just buy it there.

I will admit that this week, especially today, I was a little trunky (homesick in missionary speak).  What made it better was thinking of the success we had this week.  We didn't have any baptisms, but we hopefully set up at least 2 this week.  Also, we had a lesson with the boyfriend of a member, that I could understand almost all of.  Because I could understand, I could help more in the lesson.  I felt it was one of our best lessons yet.

I guess this is my advice to new missionaries, or anyone who is homesick anywhere, look at your successes, your failures are covered by the atonement of Christ, and everything else you can enjoy.  In the CCM, we watched a talk by Neil A Anderson where he promised us the joy of the lord, like the companions of Alma felt.  I know I have felt that this week.  Parts of it were rouph, but I can see how we followed the example of the lord.  I can see how we can help his children.

Elder Henrie

Oreos, fried oreos
Not a normal food, but a good party food for a zone meeting.

As a bonus this week Graig sent his reply to his friend Whitney's letter with more Q&A about his mission.

On the rain:
It always seems to rain like the ocean is dumping on us when I forget my umbrella...ugh.  But it means I can work on being part fish.

Q. What is the time difference there?
A. Theoretically none, I think we are the same as Utah, unless daylight savings time messes stuff up.

Q. What are the people like down there? Is money tight, or are you in a richer part of the neighborhood? 
A. Honestly in my area are some that seem about like our neighborhood to poor.  We don´t have any really rich people.  It is surprising though how everyone still has electricity and cell phones (except the missionaries for some reason).

Everyone in general is a lot more friendly than people in the US.  Everyone usually says hello to everyone, even if it is quick, and if they are eating at the time, they will usually share.  Because people like to have visitors, it is not uncommon for our visits to always be about an hour.  We don´t really do quick lessons here, which is nice, because I am slow!

Q. Do you walk everywhere? are the streets packed?  If so, with people or vendors, both?
A. Yes, I walk everywhere, so I feel really buff.  The streets are pretty safe and open, but there is a definite order.  Horse drawn carts are a lot more common than here.  The order is basically:
Motos (motorcycles)
Bicycles (there are lots of these)
People walking
Dogs, and the occasional cat.

In my area the vendors are there, but most of the food is in more of a restaurant style inside someones house.

Q. How's the food? Hot? Spicy? Yummy? Questionable?
A. Its all a little questionable from the street.  The mission nurse told us to be careful.  It isn´t usually spicy, but the weirdest thing I ate was the spiciest Sardine I think ever.  My eyes burned a little, but juice is very common, so I took a long swig of that.

Because we are right next to the ocean (though I still haven´t seen it), fish is common and popular.  It reminds me of the fish from the uintas.