Spencer Michael Henze served a 2 year, full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among the people of Oaxaca, Mexico (pronounced wa-ha-ka). This is the week-by-week account of his service. Elder Henze returned with honor March 21, 2012.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Last Melon

This is crazy...
I can hardly believe this is the last time i'll be writing you guys from Oaxaca. I have gotten so used to it here that, much to my surprise, among my feelings of insane excitement, I am experiencing many similar feelings to those I had when I was leaving home to come out here...
Its kinda like when someone you love dies in the aspect that even though it's just over a day away I still can't completely comprehend it. I've been reflecting a lot this week on my mission and I have to say that all in all I'm pretty darn happy with how it all turned out. Was I perfect? Not even close, but I can honestly say I gave it my best shot. I did what I was able to and I feel satisfied with it. 
Yesterday in stake conference my feelings were confirmed when the mission president gave his talk and specially mentioned Elder Navarro and I as being stellar missionaries. I never in a million years imagined that that would ever happen. It was awesome. Not so much for the selfish aspect of being publicly recognized, but more because my mission president felt that way so strongly that it was made manifest in that way. He, being my priesthood leader, judge in Israel, and someone who knows more intimately about my mission than any other being save it be Jesus Christ himself said those things about me. It was the highest compliment I could have received. So that was way cool for me :) 
It was really surreal to say goodbye to the friends I've made here and some of the people I've baptized. It's funny how attached you can get to people in such a short amount of time when you're brothers and sisters in the gospel. Especially when you've had the opportunity to watch them grow and mature and have been able to be a part of it. 
I'm truly going to miss Oaxaca. This has come as a bit of a surprise to me because there have been many moments that I have hated it. haha. but even the bad times appear to me now as fond memories. The things that I lived here will forever live in my soul. 
For any of you who might read this and are contemplating going on a mission (guys) I strongly urge you to go. I can honestly say that this has been the best experience of my life. One I would not trade for anything. It's hard and it tests you to your limits, but it gives you experience that is simply priceless which truly are several of the secrets to life. It also gives you a deep appreciation for how good we have it in our little corner of the world. There's nothing more rewarding than to be able to serve among a people who truly need you. To be able to provide them with things that are going to help them throughout their entire lives. To truly be an earthly angel of the Lord. ...I can't completely describe it, but employing my very advanced vocabulary, it's awesome.
This week was incredible. I'll have to tell you all the details when I get home because there's lots and I'm pretty sure I have the majority of them recorded in my journal. Or at least while reading what I did write I'll hopefully remember the rest. 
The main things that happened were first, Elder Navarro came to the city from the coast on Friday to be able to go with me to the temple on Saturday morning to accompany a convert family from Ocotlán through the temple to receive their endowment and to be sealed together as an eternal family. I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything more powerful than those couple of hours. There is no experience sweeter than to be able to see a family you taught and helped receive the gospel enduring to the end and making it to the temple to receive the incredible blessings God has prepared for each of us. It was a day full of pure spirit, awesome, more spirit, some magic, and most of all rejoycing! I shed several tears during the sealing ordinance. I had never been part of a live sealing ordinance before. It's soo powerful. Not only did I get to go, but Elder Navarro and I were chosen by the family to be the two witnesses to the ordinance and as such, I, along with Elder Navarro, got to sign their official certificate of their Eternal Marriage. It was just way too cool...
Yesterday was a day full of baptisms! First thing in the morning at 9:00 am was the baptism of our investigator (soccer player) José Luis!!! It went super well. We sang him a special musical number and everything. His girlfriend Raquel came all the way from Veracruz to be a part of it. Everything worked out perfectly. I was once again filled with rejoycing! haha.
Later that same day I had the opportunity to baptize a lady named Olíva  (Olive) who is a convert from the ward  "Fortín." which is the area of El Centro. This happened similarly to how it happened several weeks before with Cecilia in that I had the opportunity to interview her and as always the last question is "who would you like to baptize you? to which she replied, "Can any one of you guys do it?" to which I replied, "Sí" to which she replied, "Could you do it?"
So now you know how that went down.
It was a very cool experience to say the least. Even cooler than planned in fact because I forgot to bring an extra change of underclothes!!! :O So I just wrang out the ones I had as best I could and wore them. ...Like a BOSS!! haha.
They dried surprisingly fast though.
In total we had SEVEN baptisms this week in the zone! That's very above average for this zone so I'm just as thrilled as can be!

I know that none of this apparent good fortune is coincidence. God always blesses us with his tender mercies when we do his will. Even if we don't do it perfectly. He always looks on the heart and takes everything into account. I know that these incredible blessings all came from him and that just gives me one more reason to praise his name on high.
God lives. I know it without a doubt.
Even though I am going to miss this place and these people enormosly, I am extremely excited to come home and be with you all again for the first time in TWO YEARS!!!! I love you all immensely and will see you on Wednesday!!!
Elder Spencer Henze
Misión México Oaxaca
17 Marzo 2010 - 21 Marzo 2012
Misión Cumplida.
1.) Me recording the mission hymn on my iPod Touch using the new mobile garageband app for iPad and iPod touch (oh yeah...)
2.) The Board of missionaries in the offices. If you look you can see me right there at the top ready to go home.
3.) Elder Navarro and I with the Familia Padilla Sánchez after the sealing.
4.) The baptism of José Luis
5.) The baptism of Olíva
Recording: The official recording I made of the Hymn for La Misión México Oaxaca.