Monday, October 28, 2013

My Favorite Week So Far 10/28/13

Well another week has flown by.....would any of you please tell the time to slow down? It would be nice. So to give you a little taste of Jamaica. It is sunny everyday. Some days it will rain a little bit. The people here are so kind and loving. The food here is fantastic, I love it to death. I enjoy the sun rises and sun sets they are probably the most beautiful ones I have ever seen especially the sun rises...........OH YEAH i FORGOT IT'S STILL 90+ DEGREES!!!!! AAAAhhhhhhh where is winter?!? I just love to sweat everyday all day no matter what I am doing, even in the cold shower I sweat. Oh well there must be a price paid for so much beauty.
   So this week was probably my most favorite week so far here in the mission field. We have 3 investigators come to church, 4 Less actives come, and my boy Jean-Dee McCalla gave his farewell talk. It was awesome. I also got the chance to play the hymns again. I hope I am getting better....even if I mess up quite a bit. For example, I was playing hymn 27 and during the third verse my mind wondered on me. That is never good. I started thinking about, who knows what, and before I realized it I stopped playing completely. I quickly evaluated the dire situation, and started playing again.....wrong part of the song.....oh no.....I just started playing from the start and it happened to be where everyone was. haha Small mercy from God, but it was fun. 
    To tell you a little more about our investigators. I will start with Theo aka Alfredo Wilson. (He was one who came to church). Theo absolutly loved church. He described it "I felt welcome, completely welcome. I don't do well with crouds but I was okay there.....I felt overjoyed like if you place a glass of water underneath the tap and it over flows..." So awesome!!! During church he got an answer to his prayers, multiple actually. When we first talked with Theo he told us on how he was engaged and was struggling to find a job. He had a sincere desire to simply provide. He explained further saying that he had been cast out from his family and that he had been out of work for a really long time. You could just tell how humble this man was. He told us of many nights he spent on his knees praying for help and strength. Well at church during priesthood quorum a man stood up and said, "is anyone looking for a job? I need to hire someone effective immediately..." Can you imagine his joy? I can't but I could see it. He had a smile from ear to ear as he went up to talk to the man after church. Awesome. Later we went to see him to follow up on how church was and have a lesson. He was still smiling. He said "How do I keep this feeling?" We said "Be baptized." "I have to be baptized then. When can I be baptized?" What!?!?! I was just like wow. God has prepared this man so much it's amazing. I sure hope that he continues down this road, it will bring him many more blessings than a job. He is only scratching the surface.
    You know before this experience we had to drop a lot of investigators because they were not keeping their commitments. For example, Cindy said to us "I won't come unless I have fare for the taxi" I explained to her how I run the distance every week and how my 95 year old grandfather walked to church with me several times when I was younger. She said that it didn't matter that God understands that we sin......Hey doesn't that sound familiar? Try 2 Nephi 28 (I think verse 7-9) Gosh I didn't realize that that scripture would come to pass so literately. In this instance anyway (Dad don't worry I know there are many more meanings to that scripture). It is just amazing how stupid people are. They constantly want better and beg for it but they wont help themselves. Too bad I can't help if you won't help yourself. 
    Dad I am sending you a letter with some of my thoughts on the things I am studying. I don't have time to really digest your whole email so I am hoping that you can teach me as we write back and forth. I just wish I could get up with you and study every morning. Mom I got 2 of the packages the other one is in the office. Thank you so much!!! I couldn't stop smiling...even to talk. I loved the whole thing. Tell grandma thank you too.
    Tell the Swinson's that I got their letters as well and that I loved them. I really liked the talk about refinement. Any talks that people like I would love to read them. I love reading them.
    Well that's all for now. Or that I can think of. So, take care all. I love each one of you. I look up to each one of you. You are my heros. Nikayle keep up the good solid work. Your awesome! Siri, Sorry to hear you were sick but I am glad you are better. Continue to enjoy school. Brixen of course I will love you decorations!!! I love all of your drawings......sssshhhhh I'll let you in on a secret. You drawings always make a tear come to my eye because of your thoughtfulness. You are one bright light in this dark night of turmoil. I love you.

Elder Henderson
This is how I work out.... the hard way!

A frog we found.

What should we name him?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Well, Hello Again! 10/22/13

Well hello again!!!! I am very grateful for all your letters this week. I love every single one of them. I just wish I had more time to read them all. Grandma thanks for your kind letters and also the Swinson's I enjoyed their letter and talk they sent about being refined. I will defiantly try to put that to use. 
   Well this week was full of ups and downs. I had a bit of a harder week. I get to watch all these miracles that go on around me and it seems like no one else notices them. How is that possible? It is very frustrating. So this last week we had two people lined up to be baptized this coming Saturday. Andre and Sister Harrison. Elder Mathewson and I felt like they were ready, they are ready, except they didn't come to church!!!!!! GGGGrrrrrr.......WHY IS THAT SO HARD? One Sunday left and they  couldn't push through. It was very discouraging for me. I have watched the Lord bless these two in so many ways and when one thing comes up it all goes to pot. Oh well I can understand some of it. For one Sister Harrison lost her sister which is understandable why she  would be upset. So I am trying not to get too down. We will just have to be patient. Oh man do I struggle with that! Just something else the Lord has shown me that I need to work on. 
   So throughout the week like I said we have had many miracles. On Wednesday, Elder Mathewson's tire blew out so we were on foot the whole rained the whole day. Not only rained but poured. I was so wet I felt like I was swimming. The puddles were up to my knees in places on the streets. But we pushed onward because rain will not stop the Lord's work it will go on. Anyway we went and saw everyone in our area. No one would meet with us, so we went to a cook shop and ate some dinner (to try and cheer ourselves up). It was cold on the way home. (still raining of course) But I started to sing some hymns. As I sung about being in the Lord's army and such I felt an overwhelming feeling of love come over me. It warmed me from head to toe. Not only that the rain stopped. Like completely as we were singing. As we approached the house it was about8:15. We talked about going in for the night but I said lets go to one more persons house. Well guess what happened when we went to Jay's house?!?! Nothing......he wasn't home. As we headed back for the night I saw a movement in the street. (the power was out, again, so I could really see it.) As we got closer I noticed it was a crab!!!! The crab took off, they are really quit fast! But me being me, I caught up to it and started pulling a karate kid. (With the arms and everything) I kicked that crab all over the street like a soccer ball. I accidentally kicked off it's leg so I stopped. Then a brilliant thought came to mind. I was going to cook that 2 lbs crab, and that's what I did. I picked it up and took it home. I threw it in a pot with casian seasoning. I have never had crab before but, that crab was delicious!!! Even the other Elder's thought so. I am going to cook a lot more crab in the future. So the Lord even blessed me with a yummy crab to eat when I was feeling down. It helps to know that the Lord always has your back. He is always there, and he cares. He really does. 
    One more experience that I will share with you is the day after. We had Zone meeting and we were challenged to "turn the members into the missionaries". Elder Mathewson and I had already started doing that but we made plans accordingly for that weekend to talk to them more about it. As we left (we were still on foot) and headed to our appointments on the day we ran into 4 of the strongest members in our area.  I think the Lord wasn't happy with how we planned so he helped us out a bit. What a miracle! We weren't even going to go into their areas. WOW. It humbled me, always act right away on promptings and counsel. The Lord doesn't like a slothful servant. DO NOT EVER BE SLOTHFUL! There is simply too much to do. Don't worry I had a long talk with God that night asking for forgiveness. 
    Like I said earlier this week was challenging for me. It tested me, it still is. It made me wonder if my faith is really growing. If I am becoming the man that I need to become. If I truly am doing and becoming a missionary for the rest of my life. I have a lot to ponder about. The problem is I don't have any time to ponder about them because I have too much to do. Mostly because I play the piano on Sunday and when other missionaries get a break I must be practicing so I can play. Man I wish for just a moment to myself. 
    Well I will be writing some personal emails. I love you all keep up the good work. Remember that the Lord has revealed that the members are the missionaries and the missionaries are just there to help. GET TO WORK! There is a lot to do. Always know he is there and he cares. Till next week remember I am in Jamaica, a tropical island, you are in the cold right now but I am enjoying 88 degree weather. I love you :)
Elder Henderson
 Elder Henderson and Matthewson  "cutting yard"  

Elder Christiansen and Elder Henderson after running to the church

Eating crab in Spanish Town

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lots of Investigators 10-14-13

Well hi everyone. I miss all your warm faces so much. I love hearing from you and all your thoughts on the gospel and what is going on in your personal lives. You are all a blessing to me. I love you all. 
   So everyone wants to know about my investigators. Well here you go. Sister McCalla is a good lady. She is completely engaged in the work, just like everyone should be. She is doing the preaching of the word of God. Then when she has questions on how to teach something or needs a Book of Mormon she asks us. That's how it is supposed to be now. The trick is getting the members involved. You all must do better, I must do better. God is hastening his work and missionaries are guides. The preaching is supposed to be done by you. But I know you all are doing just that! We have an investigator named Andre Harrison. When we first met him he could hardly read. Well we gave him a Book of Mormon 3 weeks ago. And what happened was amazing. Every time we met with him, I noticed he could read better. Now he is almost done with Mosiah! A kid who can't really read. WOW! Not only that he can now read fluently! We are told by an apostle that all problems we have in this world can be solved in the scriptures. Just pick them up!!! He is supposed to be baptized next week. I hope he comes to church. (That's that hardest part out here. Everyone is so lazy they won't walk to church. So I ran the 3.25 miles to church today in 22 minutes, so people can no longer complain.) We have another investigator Sister Harrison (aunt to andre). She was supposed to be baptized this week but, she missed church. Her Sister died Saturday so I understand why she was feeling bad and didn't come. But we went and talked to her and she said that she is having an easier time with it than when her son died back in August because she now knows the plan of Salvation. So sick!!! Well I would love to tell you more about investigators but I have so many that we can't visit all of them. So I'll tell you about two more. Kenisha, we found her on a prompting to go to a members house. She wasn't home so stopped her as she walked down the street. (I seem to do that a lot. It gets me in trouble because it makes us late to appointments sometimes.) But when we went and saw her the other day. She said the she already knew everything we said was true. WHAT?! How? She had been praying for the last few months for someone to help her with her studies. So yeah, she is in progress and if we can get her to church she will be awesome! The other one is Joseph Grant. We went to meet with Joseph the other day for the first time. Well come to find out that he had already read: True to the Faith, all the pamphlets. He wanted more so he got in touch with us. We took him a Book of Mormon. As soon as he got it he stopped paying attention to us and read. Even during my prayer. hahaha He was sure excited about it. I just love it!!!!
    This week has been a good week. I am finally adjusting. The work is becoming fun for me. But once again 22 months is forever long....until I look back over the last 8 weeks. Hahaha SO I LOVE JAMAICA. It's a blast!!!! 
    Mom tell Grandma and the Swinsons that I got their letters today. I loved them they were very inspirational. Especially the talk that was sent. I also am very grateful for the patriarcle blessings of Grandma and Grandpa. They in lightened me quit a bit.
   Dad we are teaching at least 6 men right now. They just progress slower than women. You know they have that attitute that they know everything. BUT, God is softening their hearts. It's a blessing to me to watch.
   Carter I love to hear from you. It's okay that this week was boring. Just make the next one fun!!! Key word make. You have the choice. Keep going and keep telling me how things are going and if I can help you in any way.
   Joshua I got half your email. But way to be on soccer!!!! You are a stud! How's piano going? Mine is going well!!! I practice atleast 15 minutes a day because I have to play every sunday. Yesterday I played hymn 1, 105, 169, and 152. I was so nervous but God helped me play them very well. Mom asked how President Britton knew I played. He walked in on me as I played before church.....Note to self make sure the door is locked next time....Just kidding. I am glad I have the opportunity to play to strengthen my talent.
   Nikayle I believe you have a birthday coming up. What do you want from Jamaica? I'll try to find it okay? Keep your studies in the Book of Mormon up it will be a blessing to you.
   Siri same with you! What would you like? I am glad to hear you are taking Gymnastics! You'll be fabulous and beautiful at the same time! You are my hero.
   Brixen I miss you too little one. I wish I could come home and just hold you and never let go. When I am feeling a little down I remember your smile and that makes me smile. I will always be your BEST friend. 3 more months till I'll speak to you okay?
   I would encourage everyone reading this to make preparations in going on a mission! It will bless you in more ways than you can imagination. It has blessed me in more ways than I can write. Please, God has given us everything. Do you know the real reason for a mission? It's not for the people you will serve and bring into the gospel. (maybe a little) The mission is mainly for the missionary. Especially with the way that the work is heading turning things over to the members. MAKE PREPARATIONS NOW! I love you all. Till next week be strong and smile because your son, brother, and friend is thinking about you then........I hit a pot hole and fall on my face. Again I wish you all the best of luck. 
Elder Henderson
P.S. I'm sending some pictures
cut my own hair. 

  sunrises are the best here.

   here we are.

  another beauty of a morning.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ups and Downs 10/7/13

So I am going to do something different today. I am going to write first then read the emails and give answers to questions. So yeah we will see how this goes.
   Well this week has been full of ups and downs. Last Monday after I wrote you I got kind of depressed because 22 months is a long stinking time. It still seems like a long time looking ahead but looking back it is going fast....kinda. But in the short time I have been out here I have grown in enormous ways! My piano ability is just shooting out of this world. I have been putting in anywhere from 30-60 minutes of practice a day to try and be ready for next Sunday. I have learned five hymns that I can play with someone singing. WOW, I didn't think I could do that!! You also wouldn't believe how fast I am going through the material you sent me. I have finished all the talks given by the Quorum of the 12 in my room, I have read "My Heritage", I am over 100 pages into Jesus the Christ, I am almost finished with Doctrine and Covenants, I am also about half way through the Book of Mormon (the one I am going through marking all things to do with my question). I have a thirst for learning that I have never had before. It's like this void that I can't fill. It drives me nuts coming into this store and seeing all the books and books that I can't read!!! GRRRRRR.......Why couldn't I have discovered this sooner? Dad I am still studying the talk Elder McConkie gave about personal revaluation. It's taken me most of the transfer and I still have so much more to go. I can quote scripture after scripture where it says we are entitled to see our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face in THIS LIFE. It has been blowing my mind! But I'll send all the notes home when I have finished my study. I already filled out a whole notebook of thoughts, impressions, scriptures, cross references, etc. I think you would like what I have found and I am excited to share it with you. My physical skill and abilities have waned in areas and in others grown. Like my speed has decreased but my endurance has increased by far. hahaha I'll have a lot of work to do when I get home. But I know the Lord will bless me as I strive to do as he says. Also I never thought that I could function on 6-7 hours of rest every night and still be in a good mood. I have struggled with being angry this week but I feel like it's because I wasn't trying to enjoy myself. It's okay to have fun while you work, so the last few days I have really focused on that and it has turned this week around. So yeah that's a little taste of what I have been doing and what I have learned.
   This last weekend was conference.....I am mad as I'll get out!!! I can't wait 6 months for another one.....I have nothing to look forward too.....I enjoyed that conference more than I have ever enjoyed a conference before. I took over 10 pages of notes over the 5 sessions. I can't wait till we get the October Ensign so I can read them all over again. There was so many things I learned I can't write them all but I will share a little bit. An under lying message in every talk given was that fact that we need to LOVE. That got me thinking, love is the force that drives everyone one to do anything. It is either a love for a task we are doing, a love for the person who asks us to do the task, or a love of the reward at the end of the task. There in lies true happiness is a love of all three. I invite all of you to reevaluate your lives and motives. We must all increase our love in some way shape or forum. My love in all these categories have increased and it will still increase as I serve. I often times find myself dreading the day that I have to leave Spanish Town because, well Spanish Town in where it's at!! I would love to spend my whole mission here!!!! I can't wait for the day that I can show you how awesome this place is here. The mission is a wonderful experience you grow so much in such a short time. You learn so much in a short time. I would invite all who read this to prepare to go on a mission. It should be expected for women to come out on a mission because we also learned in conference that the persecution that we had in the beginning of the church we have avoided, but that will not last. We need a stronger generation of men and women, where is a better place to prepare for the rest of your life than in the mission field?? Prepare now!!! There is so much more I want to share with you on the topic of conference but I simply don't have my notes or the time to share it all. Sorry....:/ 
    Dad I got your letter this week...well half of it. I haven't read it because I am waiting for the other half of it. I love letters that I receive from you. YOU are my hero, I would love to hear on what you are studying in the scriptures, some insights you have on verses.
    Mom I haven't received the package yet but I am waiting expectantly. I love your cooking and miss it every single day. There are recipes here that you would love and I'll bring them back for your collection that I want one day. Okay? Dibs no battle. Sorry Cater I win.
   Carter keep being a stud. You need to grow more before you get out here. Don't wait go to work!!!!
   Same with you Joshua, you have a long ways to go before you come out here. Be diligent in all you do and watch the Lord help you.
   Nikayle decide now that you will serve a mission!!! You need to experience this okay? I love you princess, you are beautiful keep it up.
   Siri you little stinker!!! Are you having fun?? I am and you better be too because you are always so much fun to hang around. Keep being obedient okay?
   Brixen guess what?!?!?! Nothing hahaha. That never gets old. You keep making everyone laugh okay? Good. I can't come home for a while but I will come home with honor. I love you. 
   We have had several awesome lessons this week. I don't know what is going on but the Spirit has been incredibly strong recently. You can tell the investigators can feel it because they will break down in tears, or look around wondering what that is, or stuff along those lines. The work is picking up pace and I feel grateful to be apart of it! Every missionary out here insists that I will be a prophet and that I am the most well prepared missionary of all time. They assure me that I will serve off island and that I will be an AP. I'm not sure if I like all that attention, it's not good. Plus it kind of overwhelms me with all that is expected of me. That credit goes to all of you. Mom, Dad you have shaped me so far into who I am. I thank you for all you have given me and I plan to continue all those things you encouraged me to do. But from here on out it will be the Lord who will shape me into who I need and must become so I can stand tall when the storm hits that the apostles talked about yesterday. Keep going I am with you in spirit and you are always in my heart.
   Well I'm going to try and read some emails now so see you next week. God be with all of you till I see you again.

Elder Henderson

Another Pday in Paradise 9/30/13

Wow this week seemed to go by fast!! I am really trying to focus on the investigators and that has helped the days go by a lot faster! But unfortunately I still come home utterly and completely wasted. Just yesterday I was feeling even more wasted because it was fast Sunday and I just felt like giving up. We watched a clip about missionary work in church. Elder Ering was the main speaker he said something very profound, he said "every time my body begs for relief from the day to day tasks I look at how the Saviors body must have begged for relief right before and after Gethsemane. I then have the motivation to press on ward." These word were a comfort to me and they turned my whole day around. This mission is HARD!!!! I was reading the verse in 2 Nephi 27 (i think) where it says wo to those at ease in Zion. Salvation is not easy. It never was! It wasn't easy for the greatest of all. If we want salvation we must pay a price. But don't look at the price because that's not what matters. What matters is the gift we get from it. 
   Dad no I haven't received your letters yet. I guess it takes quite a while for them to come here to Jamaica, just like packages. But I am extremely excited to get them. I am hungry for knowledge and I can't seem to fill this void or pit. I am constantly wanting more. I read the scriptures while I eat and stuff like that. There is hardly ever a spare moment for me. But it's not enough. So I look forward  very much to the time when I get to read them. 
   Mom I will take a video of the apartment and everything. I have been taking pictures of the sun rises here because when I run they are absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of you. One problem though I have no way to charge Nikayle's camera sooooo yeah I'll use it as long as possible. And yes they actually say that to us. They are very blunt here and they have no problem telling us everything they think and every whoredom they have committed. I guess it's just the culture. I look forward to the packages!!! I can't wait! 
   Carter I'm glad to hear that you finally sighted your gun way to go!!! Have you spent some time in the Book of Mormon recently?? I hope so there is so much there you need to get started right now!!!!! Enjoy the time you have with Dad and ask him as many questions as you can. He is absolutely brilliant!
   Joshua, Way to be little man!!!! I'm happy to hear about your game. Your always getting better and that's how it needs to stay throughout your life. Your story about your teacher made me and Elder Mathewson laugh. You are a trouble maker, but a funny one....reminds me of well me when I was younger. My advice to you is to fill your time with wholesome activities. Practice and set aside time to every day outside of your team's practice. Read from the Book of Mormon everyday!!!! You must do this understand??
   Nikayle, Way to go on your game!!!! You are always getting better every time I hear from you. Keep it up!!! Same goes for you fill your day with whole some activities. Keep being the sweet princess you are. I love you.
   Siri, Little one, I am starving too!!!!! I want to eat so much but there simply isn't enough of the food. It's ok you'll get used to it. A missionary huh? For Halloween? Sick!!! But you should plan to be one for real ok? You would be flipping awesome at it!
   Brixen, guess what?! NOTHING! HAHAHA gotcha. :) No I won't come home this Halloween or the next but I will soon come home. And I can't wait for that period of time to pass.
   Okay so for me this week......Well first things first it is finally raining outside!!!!!!! YES! There are rivers in the streets and it's flipping awesome. The Jamaican's hate the rain but I love to ride in it. It cools everything down. I was given a key board so I could practice piano and well the branch president found out and called me into his office yesterday. He asked that I play in sacrament, every single week......Wow it's not like I have enough to do. But I'm sure it's for the best. So I did play yesterday hymn 29, 194, and 239. I had to learn hymn 194 in like 10 minutes but it turned out alright. I practice 15 minutes before every meal. Hopefully I'll be prepared for next sacrament meeting. 
   There have been several experiences through out the week. I can't write them all down so I'll just write a few of them. I finally got a yard name (aka nickname) people around here are calling me likle tree or Little Tree. (I tell them I am Elder Henderson but that does help much.) They think I am huge or something along those lines. I guess working out is helping. :) My companion and the Zone Leaders who live with us keep telling me I am going to go to Caymon or the Bahamas because only the best missionaries are sent there or something. They also say that I will be the youngest AP ever in this mission.............I don't think they know who they are talking too. I am not suited for that job, there are many more that are better prepared than I. (Although I think it would be fun to go off island). There's only one thing I know and that is this. I don't care what anyone thinks of me, or what I am doing. I don't do it for them. I do it because I only want to do what My Father in Heaven wants me to do.
   So on Tuesday we were seeing another investigator and on the way home a different investigator called out to us. We went over and she recited how she just lost her brother that day. It killed my heart. She asked for a blessing for her and her boy (he's 1ish). I had the privalage of blessing the little boy, and Elder Mathewson the Mom. I was prompted to heal the boy in the blessing for he had some sort of mental illness but I wasn't sure at the time so I brushed it off. As I concluded the blessing the little boy looked right at me as if pleading for release. I haunted me, I couldn't get my mind off it. As we finished and turned and rode away my mind still had that image of the little boy looking right through me pleading. I slammed on my breaks I said a quick prayer if I was supposed to go back and heal the boy to which I got a resounding yes. It was very powerful feeling. Elder Mathewson was wondering what was going on and he had trouble keeping up with me as I raced back to the house where this Mother and boy lived. I went to the door and asked her to bring her son back out here. I blessed that little boy to be heal, completely healed and to grow up as a normal boy. When I finished the blessing she asked me, with tears in her eyes, why. I simple said I didn't finish what Heavenly Father asked me to do when I was here a few minutes before. We saw the kid a few days later and well his body was a little bit better looking (he was super skinny) but he was now mentally sound. 
   I don't understand why the Lord is asking a stinking 18 year old punk to do these things! He could be asking Elder Mathewson who is much more prepared and worthy but he asked me. Why me? It was a very humbling experience. From that experience I decided to never again be afraid to tell someone something in a blessing. I have got to be very frustrating to the Lord, but I am grateful he puts up with me. 
   Now please don't take this story the wrong way. I am not trying to say how great I am. I am simply telling you what has been done and said. I love you all. Never ever ever do something that you will regret. Only do what the Lord wants you to do and everything will work out. I promise! Remember Salvation was never easy, we must pay a price. And when your body screams for relief look to the Savior who will strengthen you and help you as he has done for me every single day! I love you all, you all are always in my prayers. Keep the faith.
Elder Henderson