Friday, July 17, 2015

Last email home

Words cannot describe how I'm feeling right now.  I'm excited to go home and see you all again, and I'm excited to head back to school but I feel like I'm leaving so much behind.  So much of me, and so many wonderful people who have changed my life for the better are here in El Paso.

Mom wanted me to email today so that I could share my testimony with you all, but I feel like I've been sharing it all along :).

I know that I made the right choice to go and serve a mission.  My life has been changed for the better.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and this past week I've really come to understand what it means to rely on the Atonement.  I know that I couldn't have made it through this past week without the Atoning power and just being able to rely on someone else and have Him help me through.

I know the church is true.  With or without me, God's work is going to move on and I've made the decision to be part of it.  I know that Christ established a church when he was on the earth and that through Joseph Smith that same church was restored.  I know that we have living prophets today on the earth that lead and guide us. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that it was written by ancient prophets and that just like the bible it will help us learn the teachings of Christ to return to live with him again.  I love the Bible too.  That's something that I've really grown to love and understand as I've been on my mission.

I know that in this Church we are given opportunities to serve and to grow and learn.  I am so grateful for an organization built upon service and for the chances that I have to go out and serve others.

Before my mission I had a testimony of all these things.  But as I've been a missionary my testimony has been strengthened, and I have learned more than knowing, I have learned to do.  I have learned how to more fully keep my covenants.

I love this church.  I love this Gospel, I love being a missionary.  And while that is coming to an end, I really am excited to move on to the next part of my adventure.  It seems like life never really slows down, and that's alright with me.  I'm going to keep on doing what I learned in the mission- trust in God and follow his answers when you get one.  And the best part is that I still get to be a missionary... :) a member missionary that is....

I love you all and I'll see you this week :)


Hna Hendricks

April 7th 2015

To anyone who's been reading this, you know I've been home for 3 months now.  I'm finally getting up the ability to tackle my blog and go through my mission emails and pictures.  Sorry about the delay-

This past week was really good.  But to be honest, I don't really have the ganas to write you all.

But, I know you all want to hear from me. 

Wednesday we had several incredible experiences.  1. We helped the university ward sisters with an outdoor art show that they put on.  It was really cool being on campus and helping out while taking about art and church history!   And Jesus Christ.  I was able to teach on the maintenance men  in Spanish and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon which was super cool.

About 2 weeks ago President also asked us to start parking our cars for 2 days a week starting April 1st.  Well, last Wednesday was the first and so we got a ride down to the university and then we bused home.  And we bused up and down Mesa street.  Do you know hoe much I LOVE the bus!!!!!!  It is AWESOME.  And I regret not bussing earlier.  Yeah, it requires a little more planning, and a little more money taken off our mission cards, but it was so much fun!  And it's a great opportunity to talk to people.  On Thursday we rode again and it was so cool because at one stop the bus driver was ahead of schedule and so he stopped the bus and came back to talk to us about what we do as missionaries and what we believe.  Unfortunately we didn't have an English book of Mormon on us to give to him (we do now!!!) but the cool thing is that he lives on a street in my last area that I walked a ton a times! 

Conference was incredible.  I loved the emphasis on families and eternal marriage and just everything.  I am so excited to go back and restudy everything, especially Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf's talks because our wifi cut out when we were watching conference (they were only broadcasting in Spanish to our church building and so we set up a computer for us English speakers... us, the elders, and a couple other members).

One thing that I pondered over last week was my reaction to President Miller's counsel to park the car 2 days a week.  I read that, and didn't think it was possible.  And I told him that.  But then I got to spend all week thinking about my lack of faith and trust.  If I believe that President Miller is an inspired leader of the church (and I know he is), then  his counsel is inspired as well.  And instead of doubting, I just needed to take a leap of faith.  Which is what we ended up doing Wednesday and Thursday, and you read how it turned out.

When we listen and then heed the words of our leaders we will always be blessed.  Even if we can't see the blessings or don't understand why we need to do something, we need to trust.  And sometimes that's the hardest part is just learning to trust.  Trust in the promptings of the Spirit, trust in the counsel of the local leaders and then trust in the counsel of general leadership.

With conference this past weekend we received lots of counsel.  Some of it spoken verbally and some of it received through inspiration by the Holy Ghost.  I know that I need to go back and reflect on the guidance I received and apply it to my life and I challenge all of you to do the same thing too.  Review the conference talks, review any notes you took and write down promptings received and then remember them. 

"Ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right." -President Monson

I know that we have a living prophet who guides us in these latter days.  I know that we have apostles and leaders who receive the guidance to help us.  But I also know that we have the opportunity to receive our own personal guidance to help and guide us.  This Church is true.  And nothing will ever change that.

I love you all and I'll talk to you next week!


Hna Hendricks

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31st 2015 (THE FINAL MISSION POST)

Yes, it is true! This is the last blog post from yours truly, Mary, while Emily is away! She has 14 days left until she comes home, so she will email one more time, but I will be out of town, so she will post it when she gets home! Its crazy how quickly 18 months flys by, isnt it?

Last week was a normal missionary week.  We contacted lots of referrals, we received lots of referrals, we taught lessons, we had members cancel on us, we had investigators cancel on us.  Yep, normal. 

But even normal weeks have miracles.

1. General Women's conference.  I hope you all watched it.  And if you didn't, go watch it NOW.  We are so blessed to have the opportunity twice a year to listen to the voices of leaders inspired by God to help us.  My favorite talk was that of Sister Oscarson.  She is incredible!  We were able to watch the conference session in SPANISH (it's a good thing I understand Spanish or else I would have been completely lost.) with some of our less active sisters and it was just so amazing.

2.  B set another baptismal date.  She knows that everything is true, but she's struggling to change because her brother is a pastor of another church.  So this week her recently baptized grandson came with us to a lesson, shared his testimony, told her that his mom (B's daughter) was getting baptized and B said she's going to be baptized the same day.  And then she kissed him on the head.

3. We showed up to church on sunday and I was informed I had to play the piano for sacrament meeting.  Well, I prayed throughout the whole meeting because while I'm really good a sight reading songs, playing them for the congregation is another matter.  But it worked out, the Atonement is real in helping make up your differences.

4. We found members to come with us to lessons, even if it was last minute.  That is a big miracle. 

5.  I had my departure interview with President Miller yesterday.  It's good, all is good.  We talked about how one phase ends so that another can begin.  What a blessing it has been for me to serve as a missionary.  I love it so much and I know that I have changed so much.  :)

I hope everyone is preparing for Easter and General Conference this weekend.  How special will it be to have both this weekend, because we get to be even more fed by the spirit!  Because Jesus Christ is our Savior and he lives we have the ability to do anything.  He can help us over come all our sins and weaknesses.  All because he loves us.  And because he loves us even more, he's given us living day prophets to help us and guide us and to keep us in line.  I AM SO EXCITED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!  I hope you're that excited too.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 24th 2015

So last week was good.  It seemed like we were at the church a lot, and not really doing very much, but it was packed with other things.

First of all..... F FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!  Thank you for all prayers on our behalf. 

One thing I've noticed on my mission is that baptism are really stressful.  I don't know if it's that way for other missionaries, but when they are over my feelings are "finally.... they're baptized!" 

It always seems to happens that either the week (or the day of) before a baptism all things seem to go wrong.  Well, with F things went wrong a month ago when he cancelled on his interview.  And this week things were going really really well, until Friday night.  When we were at the church for a Relief Society activity I felt the impression to go check the key to the baptismal clothes (it's been know to stick).  So we went and checked the key to the closet we thought were the baptismal clothes. (It was the closet they got A's baptismal clothes out of).  When the key didn't work, we called the ward mission leader who told us to get the bishop to help us open the door.  Well the bishop came over, couldn't get the door unlocked, and had a member in the ward pick the lock, and then take off the lock because bishop said he was done having problems with this door.  Problem solved... we thought.

The next day at the baptism our ward mission leader is looking at the doors and says "Sisters.... you took the lock off the wrong door... that's for the other ward"  Oops. But the good think is that we got baptismal clothes (albeit from the other ward) that 2 kids used for their baptisms. 

That's why we were at the church a lot last week.  F's baptism was at 10:30 (so we were at the church at 8:30), then the elders had a baptism at 7, but were driving down from ABQ that day, so we had to fill the font/prep the room for their baptism.  And, they asked me to play the piano for the baptism (so again, at the church from 6-8:30) and then church on sunday, and there was an 8 year old getting baptized on Sunday, and I also "played" the piano for that baptism (I actually used the electric piano for that one... I didn't know the songs....).

But the week ended great because F was finally baptized. :)

And we have some amazing new investigators.  One of them is a family that we taught on Saturday after the baptism.  We didn't know quite what to teach them, because they've been taught by missionaries before, but we went in and found out the husband has a TON of questions.  Luckily we have a return missionary with us, who helped us get control of the situation and we answered a couple and then set up a return appointment.  Today we're teaching the plan of salvation to them (per-request) and I am SO EXCITED!!!!

I'm so happy that Spring is finally here.  And the weather is really warming up too!  It's just going to be so much fun to go talk to people!  Our OYMing has been really down, but we have a goal to have shorter lessons so that we can go and talk to more people. Sometimes I feel like we don't have enough time to do everything.  But everything that needs to get done, usually does. 

It's been an incredible opportunity for me to serve and I'm so excited to see what this week holds!  Love you all and have an absolutely incredible week!

Love hna Hendricks

Pictures: me and hna torres with our macarons.
at f's baptism
we played softball last week at pday.  My team creamed the other one. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 17th 2015

Last week we went on exchanges.  I and think it was the best exchanges I've ever been on (no offense to my other sister training leaders...) we just had so much fun and we learned a lot!  Sis Watkins is going to BYU next fall too, and so we just decided we're going to try to room together.  I don't think I've laughed as much or as hard as we did together.  And we saw lots of miracles too!  We were able to talk to a lot of people outside on the streets and we received and contacted several referrals!  It was awesome!

Last Friday Hna Torres woke up sick.  And then stayed sick Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It was the worse thing ever.  For her and me.  By the middle of Saturday I had read all the church magazines in the apartment, updated our area book, cleaned the dishes and then some more.  By sunday, I had cleaned our vacuum, had finished Helaman and was memorizing my scripture for zone conference.  Luckily we had some young women that were willing to do splits with us and so I got a quick break sunday afternoon to go out and contact people.  And then the university ward sisters did splits so I could go to sacrament (M came! We haven't seen him in 2 weeks!!!!! Yet he still came to church).  And then the sister training leaders came later Sunday night so that I could go to a baptismal interview/lesson.  F passed his interview.... now please pray that nothing happens this week that will impede him getting baptized!

Monday morning Hna Torres woke up feeling a little better... and so off to zone conference we went.  She slept through most of it, but by the end (and after a blessing) she's made a remarkable recovery and we're back to business!  We had an amazing zone conference yesterday focusing on answering questions of the soul and listening to/receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.  It just makes me want to go out there and know the scriptures better and listen to the Holy Ghost better so that I really can teach to the needs of others and help them progress in their relationship with our Heavenly Father.

And part of what we saw at zone conference was a new video by the church called "He Lives."  It's part of a new initiative that the church is doing (similar to the Christmas one but for Easter) and it's focused on how this time is more than just a time to celebrate the Easter bunny, but the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that my savior lives and that because he lives, my potential is endless.  I can learn, I can progress, I can be forgiven of my mistakes, I can grow from past mistakes.  And the best part is that this is available for everyone too.  Not just me, but for anyone who really wants it.  It's that amazing :)

March 10th 2015

This past week was good.  We've been struggling to find and just with talking to people, so that's our focus on this up coming week.

Sunday was interesting because of the time change.  I think we started sacrament with maybe 40 people, and no one under the age of 7.  But by the time the chapel doors opened after the sacrament had been passed, the ward was looking a little more lively :). 

I love the daylight savings because we have more light!  And more people are outside!  And people don't tell us to go home at 7 anymore :)  (we got that a lot... "sisters why are you out so late?"  "Uh... it's only 7:30."  "Well, you should go home").  So, basically we're going to be able to find more people because now we have more light!

Friday night we had an activity at the church.  It was watching 17 Miracles, which we're allowed to watch if we have an investigator.  Well, none of our investigators showed up.  And neither did the elders'.  And while we had a good turn out of members (including recent converts and less actives) the missionary activity for the ward, was missionaryless because no investigators went.  Oh well, we went to contact former investigators and I think it was just as fun.

At zone training on Friday they talked about keeping a study journal.  And that's something I've done but also struggled with.  And so since Friday I have made a goal to write down my ponderings and observations instead of just thinking them.  And I believe that my studying has increased in effectiveness.  We have been given many different resources and as we study we become more effective people.  It doesn't matter what we're studying for, but as we search the Lord will open up treasure in heaven or us.  I love studying out of brand new clean scriptures because it gives me the opportunity to find new things.

March 2nd 2015

Can you believe it's March already?  Wow, February flew by so fast. Well, transfer calls happened on Saturday and the news is..... we're both staying!  So that means I've served in El Paso my whole mission!!!! (somebody better change my plaque so that it says the Texas, El Paso mission ;))  

This past week was amazing.  It was filled with anticipation on what the new transfer might bring, and willingness to submit to what the Lord has planned.  And the Lord wants us to stay here together and work hard :)  I'm and so excited because we have an awesome transfer planned....!

In past weeks where we struggled to teach, these last couple weeks, we've struggled to find... but it's a cycle :).  We had amazing lessons with several investigators.

M was supposed to get baptized on Saturday, but she hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon.  So we decided (along with her) that she wasn't ready and that she needs to read.  We left her a chapter and gave her a week to read it (but let her know we'd stop in periodically to see how it was going).  We saw her last night and she still hadn't read, but it's a work in progress.  She has been going to church and she does pray... it's just getting her to read and LOVE the Book of Mormon.

C is reading and praying and she wants to be baptized, her only problem is that she hasn't really kept all of her appointments and hasn't gone to church.  We had an awesome lesson with her on baptism though and the interview and how she would be baptized.  She's progressing it's just the importance of going to church. 

We had a great lesson with a recent convert and her investigator daughter.  One of the young women leaders came with us, and she and Hna Torres focused on the daughter, talking about personal progress and making it personal for her.  And I sat with the mom and answered all her questions from Gospel Principles.  It was time to more personally get to know this Hermana and help her understand some of the doctrine that she's been struggling with.

With that experience with the Hermana and several others this week, I grew in my understanding of my own baptismal covenants. 
 (Mosiah 18:8-9)
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

I've had several opportunities throughout my mission to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  But I think that every time it happens, it takes on more meaning.  Especially this week, because I've been studying "Daughters of My Kingdom" and the personal ministry section stuck out to me.  Everyone of us has the responsibility to minister to others, and help them grow in their own testimonies.  Everything in life has a deeper meaning than just checking off a box.  We shouldn't live through life checking off boxes because then we forget the meaning of everything.  And when we make things personal for ourselves and others, that's when the meaning comes in.  And if we think and reflect on Christ's life, he ministered personally to everyone.  What a great example we have.