Monday, December 29, 2014

Talking with Elder Herbert on Christmas Day

Joy of all joys! We got to talk to our Elder Herbert on Christmas Day. He sounds great and looks so radiant. We can tell he loves what he is doing. He loves the people and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Renton--December 29, 2014

Dear family,
I had an incredible time skyping with you! It was good to see all of you. I was so happy to see grandma and grandpa and Danny as well. We are having a good time in Washington. I would love for you all to come to Seattle with me and party it up! We should definitely vacation here after my mission. It really is a wonderful place and I would love for you to meet the people I have met. Sarah, I love the candy. Jessica, I know you will come up here someday and it is really fun. The most fun about it is the people we get to help teach the gospel. I know that we are making the most important difference in their lives. I am so happy for "E" and the decision she's made. I'm grateful for her example in living the gospel. She asked us for a tithing slip a couple days ago! She loves paying tithing!
We have an investigator, "M", that hopefully is close to a baptismal date. She is good friends now with a ward member, Sister "K". I hope she'll be able to come to church this Sunday. She couldn't make it down this Sunday. But the other elders in our ward have a family that is getting baptized in a couple of weeks, on January 10. The "A"'s. There are five of them getting baptized. They are Filipino. I just love Filipinio people. They are so humble and fun-loving. They love food and they feed us quite a bit.
Well, I love you all and I'll write back soon.
Elder Herbert

Monday, December 22, 2014

Renton--December 22, 2014

Dear family,
I am so excited to see your faces! I will be skyping you on Christmas around 5 pm Pacific Standard Time. It'll be 6 pm in Utah. I will give you a call on Mom's cell phone around that time to coordinate the skyping session. We have been advised by President Eaton to keep it to 45 minutes. I look forward to seeing your faces and hearing your voices! We are being hosted by the "P" family. They are a less-active family from Cambodia in our ward. They also have a non-member roommate named "J". We hope that this will be a good teaching opportunity. Last Friday, we went over with Bishop White and visited with them before heading home at 9 pm. It was really nice to see them at church. They stayed the full 3 hours too! They are the sweetest family and they have two little boys. They live on Lake Washington in a really spacious home. Their dock is literally 30-50 ft from the patio!  In gospel principles class, I shared my manual with Sister "P". The lesson was on family responsibilities. We talked about why it's important for the parents and children to work together. It reminded me of experiences I've had at home. We also talked about the struggles of raising kids as a single parent.
Last night we had dinner with the "M"'s. They are a sweet old couple in our ward. Sister "M" loves company and there were three sets of full-time missionaries, one service missionary, and a handful of others. It was packed! She made what she calls "shipwreck." It's her family's signature dish. It's called shipwreck because it has all the essentials that are needed to survive a shipwreck. It had ground beef, potatoes, kidney beans, and green beans. She always makes jello salad and a ton of dessert. She gave each of us a loaf of pumpkin bread and giant chocolate oatmeal cookies. She certainly loves to cook!
We have finally had a lesson with "E" and her friend, "A". Even though "E" was cracking jokes the whole time (the stinker), "A" said that she felt at peace in the chapel. She told us that she feels lost sometimes and wants to know how to be happier in life. We are going to have another lesson with them on Christmas day, right before I get to Skype you. She's going to Alaska with "E" and "J" in January, so Elder Bennett and I want to give her a solid foundation before she leaves for work.
I love you all and I'm inspired by your righteous examples.
Much love,
Elder Herbert

Monday, December 15, 2014

Renton--December 15, 2014

Elder Seth Herbert
Dearest family,

I am doing well. It's my third transfer in Skyway and I'm here with my new companion Elder Bennett. This transfer, we want to work on building trust with the members of the ward. I think that if we do that, we'll get places and the ward will explode with a missionary-oriented attitude. Bishop is presenting a 2015 ward mission and family history plan this upcoming  January. Elder Bennett and I are going to work with the members and get them excited to do missionary work. We have not been able to get a hold of "E"'s friend, but she told us she would chat with her on Facebook today. We should be able to meet her soon. "E" and her friend "J" are moving with her to Alaska this January to work for a three month season in a seafood packing company and then will come back to Washington for six months and repeat the process.

Sisters, Elder Tibbits, and Elder Herbert
Elder Bennett and I have called our investigator "M" everyday in order to give her reading assignments in the Book of Mormon. Then we follow up on her reading assignment from last time. Unfortunately, "S" and her family don't seem interested anymore. We'll give her a couple of redeeming chances and move on. We're focusing on teaching a referral named "J". Hopefully we'll get a chance to have a lesson soon. Then we'll ask the "S" family about some of their friends that formerly investigated the church.

I wish you all the best,

Elder Herbert

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Renton--December 9, 2014

Dear family,

We had a baptism on Saturday for "E"! It was a wonderful service. Shortly before getting baptized, she told us she wants to introduce her friend from California to us. She told us, "I have a surprise for you two. I might have a new investigator for you." It seems like her friend is hard to get a hold of, but we keep bugging her about it. She told us she'll let us know when she's available. Elder Tibbitts is going home tomorrow. My new companion was a zone leader. His name is Elder Bennett. I'm excited to meet him. The work is moving forward, even though it seems like it slows down from time to time. We haven't seen the Samoan family for a couple of weeks, but we saw the dad, and he said that his daughter "S" is still interested. We are teaching "M H", an elderly woman from Arizona. Her best friend is a member of the church, and she wants to know what makes us all so happy! She told us she would be baptized if she came to know if it were true. She said she wasn't religious growing up, and is just learning how to pray. I pray for her all the time to know this is true.

Even though some of our members struggle, I realized that there are so many that are strong! We met with my favorite family, the "M"'s again yesterday. They are the cutest family in the world. Brother "M" is from Africa and Sister "M" is from Trinidad. They are both recent converts, and they love the missionaries. Brother "M" got called to be an Elder's quorum instructor and Sister "M" got called to be a nursery teacher.  They are one of the most Christ centered families I've met. Brother "M" is so kind and Sister "M" is very strong and passionate. They are a great addition to the Skyway ward. Sadly, they may soon be moving to Puyallup, WA.

Coming up on my third transfer, I'll be staying in the Skyway ward. I'm so happy. There is a lot of work to do, but there is a lot of promise. Please pray for the members and Bishop. Pray for "M" and "E". Please pray for "S" and her family as well. Happy Holidays.


Elder Herbert

Monday, December 1, 2014

Renton--December 1, 2014

Dear mom,
That sounds great! I'm glad that you have old high school friends that like your posts on Facebook. Sometimes it's hard to help people understand that missionary efforts are more than just good service opportunities or something like the peace corps. It's a good idea to ask. I would send a personal message saying, "Would you like to know why my son is serving a mission? In Washington of all places?" I love it here, even though the people, streets, houses, and weather are totally foreign to me. I'm including pictures from a couple days ago when the leaves backed up the storm drain and the pouring rain flooded our patio. The next day it snowed for about fifteen minutes, and the sun came out!! It's still below freezing though. It's wacky weather over here. Would you say Germans are private people that keep to themselves? Because that's how the people here are. Even the ward members. It's hard for them to socialize and enjoy each other's company. It's a struggle to get the work moving when the members' testimonies are hanging by a thread. I've heard that a recent article about Joseph Smith's practice of plural marriage shook a lot of ward members' faith. As of now, there are 800 members on record, and the average weekly attendance is 160.
I don't know what to do to keep our ward together. Our home and visiting teaching percentage is usually below 50. Several members struggle financially, physically, and mentally. Do you have any suggestions? It's hard when a lot of the members get short with us for trying to serve them, but we're not "doing it right."  I try my best but I feel like all the responsibility in the ward is shifted on the missionaries' shoulders. Even the bishop struggles to lead the ward.
We visit as many members as we can and try to get them involved in lessons and such. I know it's important for them to feel needed. But a lot of members that would be available for lessons are very bizarre and don't know how to conduct a missionary discussion. Most times they are extremely overbearing and it makes the lesson embarrassing for us and the investigators.
Do you have any missionary experiences where your ward struggled a lot? If so, what did you do to strengthen it?
Our lesson with the Samoan family went well and we had a second lesson with them about the Book of Mormon with a Fijian member of the ward there. He and his wife moved from Hawaii recently. We had a church tour set up with "S" but she texted us that last minute things popped up and she couldn't make it. She told us to try this week. I hope she's still interested. She seemed really excited to read the Book of Mormon.  
I love you and wish you the best.
Elder Herbert

Monday, November 24, 2014

Renton-November 24, 2014

Dear family,
Have you heard about the church's Christmas campaign, "He is the gift?" In December's Ensign, Elder Nelson is going to include nine pass-along cards for a new Mormon message, "He is the gift." It will be advertised on YouTube and social media, with worldwide promotion. It is estimated that over 220 million people will view it. What an incredible opportunity! It should be taken advantage of. As missionaries, we have been asked to introduce it to members and encourage them to post it on Facebook and hand out the pass-along cards to their friends. I encourage you all to do the same.
I'm glad to hear that Sarah is starting to feel better. I wish her good luck! I'm glad that Jessica is excelling at work and Dad is finding new work. I'm glad Mom is having fun teaching her seventh graders. This week, we found five new investigators. They are all children of a large Samoan family. I'm excited to share the message of the restoration with them. They all have such strong faith in Christ. We found the oldest, Star, as we were knocking on the doors of former investigators. We had one lesson with them and they invited us to come back today.
"E" came to stake conference session on Saturday. It was neat. Elder Pino of the Seventy was there. He spoke in Spanish and had an interpreter. He opened up a discussion panel with new converts and had them tell how they came into contact with missionaries. Their responses were that they had LDS friends that showed them love and friendship.
Remember that you could be the first and only member of the church they meet.
I should be getting your package today or tomorrow at zone meeting. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.
Elder Herbert

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Another pleasant surprise!


We love your son! He is a dedicated missionary. I heard him talking about his great great grandfather John Hamilton Morgan in the family history library. That is my husband's great grandfather too! Thought you would enjoy these pictures of a lovely meal we had yesterday. From the Senior sisters Rex & Harrison. PS it's sparkling cider (-:

Renton-November 17, 2014

Dear family,
I'm grateful for your love and righteous examples. Continue doing the Lord's work! I try everyday to do the Lord's will. It has brought me so much strength in my trials. My ward is a good ward, but it's hard to feel the love that comes from a ward with lots of families. But I'm grateful for the opportunity to partake of the sacrament every week. That is what matters most. I'm glad for your experience with Chris's farewell talk. I'm grateful to know how prepared he is. I know that the people of Arkansas will love him. I feel the same love from the people in Washington, especially since coming to know the "M" family. Yesterday, we had a missionary devotional in Graham, which is an hour drive south of here. "E" and "J" both came. It was "E"'s favorite. Every devotional a choir sings, new converts bear their testimonies, and they show Mormon messages. She loved the first song that was performed, "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." The spirit was so strong in that meeting. I couldn't help but shed tears for how much love our Heavenly Father shows us. He gave us His Only Begotten Son to atone for us, He gave us this life on earth, He gave us families, and He gave us the restored gospel. It made me want to share that love with everyone. I'm grateful for the opportunity we have to do this for two years. For me, it won't stop then. I hope we never stop being missionaries. The best way to be a missionary is share your faith by example. We are witnesses of God "at all times, and in all things, and in all places. I will also continue to perform temple work for our ancestors.
I did hand out the family history bulletin at the library last week. They thought it was a great idea! I hope they hang it up on the community events board. Thanks for sending the usb cable and the recipes! I'll let you know when they get to me. I love you all so much.
Elder Herbert

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Renton-November 12, 2014

Dear family,
I hope all is well. I'm glad that you have been praying for "E". We have been struggling to help her see the importance of putting God first in our lives. It seems like she puts her work above everything else and has just enough time to squeeze God into her schedule. She is still on date for baptism on December 6. Elder Tibbitts and I have been working really hard to find new investigators. Recently, we went to our new area in Rainier Beach to visit former investigators. We met an elderly Samoan man that was really happy to see us. He had taken missionary lessons before, but got really busy and hasn't had lessons for over a year. We have an appointment with him later this week. Then while we were at his duplex, we stopped a young lady walking by, and she told us her aunts were Mormon and she's been to church with them before. We set up a lesson with her later tonight. One of the contacts we made at the bus transit last week set up a lesson with us on Friday and she is inviting a friend to come with her! I know that the Lord is preparing people to receive us, and I'm grateful to be a part of this great work. No matter what happens, the work will go forth.
Lately, we've had one of the librarians here ask us about We told her our chapel is a family history library and we have genealogy specialists. Then we gave her our number and the chapel address, which is just around the corner from here.  I've been thinking about putting a bulletin on the community events board to get a feel for how many people would be interested. They said we'd have to bring in a flyer, it has to be non-profit, and the library committee has to approve it. I'm not sure if anybody has used the family history library, but I hope that if so, they will be touched by the spirit of Elijah.
On a side note, could you send me the recipes for soft pretzels and tasty kakes? I would also like a USB cable because I could only see an auxiliary cable with the camera. Also, most places don't carry 1 GB memory cards anymore, and I would like to have more room for pictures. Thank you very much.
Elder Herbert 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Renton-November 3, 2014

Dear family,

I am doing well. This is the wet and cold season up here, but I am doing alright. The sky is always covered in gray clouds and it rains every other day or more. It hardly pours, but it gets really wet. I may need to buy another coat when December rolls around. Seattle is a very interesting place. It is very different. I have met so many kinds of people. There are several ethnicities and religious groups within a single block. I have met Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian, Korean, Samoan, Tongan, Marshallese, Indian, Russian, Ukrainian, Scandinavian, Turkish, Arabic, Somali, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Sudanese, Jewish, and Native American people! Even the neighborhoods are diverse. One block can be urban, with apartments, condos, multifamily homes, and shopping centers. The next block can be a suburban neighborhood with single family homes.  

I love the work. We are down to one investigator that is progressing ("E"). One of our new investigators committed to baptism unfortunately moved to Little Rock Arkansas a couple days ago to live with her mom. She was bummed out about it, but it's life. Her name is "B". I told her that Chris A is going to serve his mission there. She wants to contact the missionaries when she arrives!

"E" is really close to quitting tobacco. She has very strong faith, but she still struggles to recognize the spirit. Yesterday, she showed up late to fast and testimony meeting, but she stayed for the next two blocks. She also brought her niece, "E", who is a less active member. Her uncle "J J" told us he's been sharing the gospel with a woman at the bus stop, and told us we might be able to meet with her soon. His brother is in town from Alaska and he's met with the missionaries before. He said he's "not in a hurry to get baptized." It was nice to meet him. He's staying with "J" until the 26th, when he leaves to go on a vacation to the Philippines. Afterward, he's flying back to Alaska. I hope that he'll be interested when he sees his brother's example in living the gospel.

We already had transfers, but Elder Tibbitts and I stayed put. After this transfer, he's going home. I was told that it is better to send letters and packages to the mission office instead of to my apartment. The zone leaders pick it up and send it to our address. Continue sending letters to the mission office, so they don't get lost when I'm transferred. Our zone conference is coming up this week, and Elder Hamula of the Seventy will be coming. I'm excited to meet him. He gave a magnificent talk about the Sacrament in General Conference.

I love the many examples of discipleship that our members show. Of course, they struggle, and the ward is very unstable. It always has been. The socioeconomics of Renton are such that there is very little economy, infrastructure, and the place is in shambles. There is very little workforce. A lot of the members rely on the church and government to survive. Many live in government housing. But there are many members that strive to emulate the Savior, study daily from the scriptures, and attend the temple, no matter their circumstances.

I read an article in the Ensign by Jeffrey R. Holland called "The Call to be Christ-like." In the article he emphasized building Zion where you live. There is no more exodus for the saints, no hiding place, no wilderness to roam in. We have to stand in whatever community we live and fight for our morals and liberty. It is quite the challenge. The majority of people here are liberal, with widely varying opinions. Crime plagues the streets, and people are starting to become more afraid. Without hope as our anchor, we would drift into the seas and drown.

Much love,

Elder Herbert

Friday, October 31, 2014

Renton--October 28, 2014

Dear family,
I love and miss you all very much. I am so glad to share my experiences with you. They have helped me grow and learn in such a short time. One of the biggest lessons I've learned so far is that the gospel is one of simplicity. Everything we do should point us to the Savior and His atonement. I've met a couple converts to the church that have fallen away because they perceived that we glorified Joseph Smith too much, instead of focusing on the Savior. It is necessary to understand that Joseph Smith is the man that restored the truth to the earth, but we must be careful not to put him on the same pedestal as Jesus Christ. We must talk of the Savior and his atonement much more than the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph only pointed us to the Savior, receiving all the priesthood keys necessary for our Salvation, which, through exercise of them comes the fullest blessings of the atonement.
While pondering the atonement last night, I had a vision in which I saw a rotary chamber-like machine, with the brightest white quartz I had every seen inside. It was spinning around inside the chamber. It projected bright rays of light throughout a dark room and the rays of light transformed into millions of bright stars all around me until the walls of the room disappeared and the stars were propelled into the night sky. It was a really neat experience. It impressed upon my mind the centrality of the atonement. When we exercise faith in Christ's atonement, it "spins and projects" light until it fills the dark with an innumerable amount of stars.
I think the vision was an answer to my prayer. On pondering how the atonement applies to each aspect of the gospel, I asked God how the most simple and basic doctrines relate to the more profound. It reminded me of the scripture in D&C 88 which says the light and truth of Christ grows brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.
Our central purpose as missionaries is to help God's children receive all the principles and ordinances which they need in order to have Eternal Life. As I teach, I am sometimes worried that they will not understand even the most basic doctrines. Then I remember that we are all still learning basic doctrines, and none of us can receive more knowledge until we treasure up the knowledge we have already received.
We had the primary program last Sunday. It reminded me of our investigators' experiences with learning the gospel. Even though the primary kids don't know a word like "dispensation," they have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I could feel it as they sang words to a song they barely knew, and read from a script they could hardly read.
I'm so grateful for the members of our ward. Many of them need our love and support. I continue to pray for them. The member that sent you my picture is "M C". She is a young single adult in our ward, and she has a lot of struggles. I had the opportunity to give her a priesthood blessing last week. She told me it was one of the sweetest blessings she has received. I'm glad that she recognized when she needed help, and I hope that others can follow her example.
I love you all very much,
Elder Herbert 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Best Surprise

I got the best text today from someone in Elder Herbert's ward in Washington. The text stated "One of the best missionaries in my ward." It made my day--no--my whole month! He has not been able to send us pictures, so I am so happy to see him. Looking great Elder!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Renton--October 20, 2014

Dear family,

If I walked outside right now, I could see Lake Washington from the church parking lot. Mercer Island is in the middle of it, and you can also see it from here! It's a beautiful view. (I'm still trying to find a way to get the pictures on here). It's close enough that you can still see it on a cloudy day, unless it's foggy too! Mount Rainier of course is only visible on clear days, and its full view is available up on the hills surrounding the city center. The church is above the valley of downtown Renton. It's very hilly here! I'm lucky to have a car. We lost it for a week, as I've said before, and rode bikes, but it's not as bad as biking uphill in Utah.

Yesterday, we attended a missionary devotional in Maple Valley, and "E" and "J" came. They loved it, even though the singing was bad and the first convert took up half the time for his testimony! I also saw Elder Andrew Shreeve! He is serving in the Federal Way stake right now. It was so good to see him. Elder Tibbitts' recent convert said the opening prayer. His name is "D S". He was in Elder Tibbitts' last area. At that time, he had been Christian for several years, and gave up living a gay lifestyle. His parents were antichrists. He has a dark past and very traumatic experiences with the secret combinations and oaths performed by devil worshippers in Omaha, Nebraska. It stands as a testimony that anyone, no matter where they've been, can come to Christ and be fully healed in Him. Elder Tibbitts says Brother "S" is a funny and optimistic guy, despite the horrors he went through. No one can say they can't change. Its a lie. Satan tries to deceive us by making us think we're stuck in a rut, or we're too far gone.

I've learned so much in the past month, and I'm excited to continue to grow my spirituality. I do love the people I'm serving, and I want to help them because I know the message I share is the only way to true happiness. I will be much more bold when teaching. One way I can do that is making sure the people I stop on the street perceive us as servants of God, not salesmen. I will say, "The message we share will change your life for the better. It is the most important and life-changing message you'll ever receive. It is bold and unapologetic, but it is the truth, and it will get you closer to God if you listen with all your heart." Instead of, "would you like to hear a message of how Jesus Christ brought back His true church..."  I think that people will be more impressed if they hear the truth without the prerogative of "would you like." That just makes it sound like an advertisement.

I love you with all my heart, and wish you the best.

Much love,

Elder Herbert

Monday, October 13, 2014

Renton--October 13, 2014

Dear family,

This week has been incredible, for many reasons. It has also been physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually demanding. However, after every trial, we have seen the hand of the Lord sustain us, and I feel like angels are lifting us up with every step.

Our car was taken from us and given to the sister missionaries in another area because theirs was rear-ended, and it's being repaired. In the meantime, we are on foot, walking up and down hills, and streets with angry, drunken, homeless men. It is so sad that they have so much hate in their lives that they take it out on others. The main scapegoat for their problems of course is the Mormon missionaries. So far, they've only yelled at and slandered us. It was funny because we were stopped by a policeman for the Renton Police Department. He asked why we were out so late walking down dangerous roads. We told him we were on our way home for the night. His name is Sergeant "A". He explained to us that he was a member in the Spanish branch in Graham, WA. We told him about the harassers, and he told us that they've always been a nuisance for the missionaries. He said "if they ever come up to you, call me and I'll show them a thing or two." He said that his squad would always have our backs, and they throw these losers in jail all the time. Once, one of these men punched an elder in the face. He gave us permission to call 9-1-1 if we ever feel threatened by them again. I feel so blessed by the Lord for sending sergeant "A" to us. 

This week, we witnessed a miracle. We met "J" and "J". They hardly speak any English, and they came from China. "J" was out talking on her cell phone, and I recognized it as Mandarin. Elder Tibbitts stopped to talk with her, and I explained as best I could in Mandarin that we wanted to help her. We called sister Jin, a Chinese missionary from Temple Square that is only here for a few months. She and "J" talked on the phone for twenty minutes. She began crying and there was so much emotion in her voice. After their phone conversation, Sister Jin told us that "J" is Christian. She and her husband were baptized in a church that "didn't feel right." Her husband, "J", is severely depressed, and hardly ever comes out of the house. They are struggling financially, especially because "J" had surgery to remove a brain tumor. In the midst of this trial both of them have been praying fervently for the true Christian church, and help during this difficult circumstance. They were both at sacrament meeting yesterday, and a senior sister missionary from China interpreted for both of them. They continue to take lessons from sister Jin, and at church they requested a Book of Mormon. This is a testimony to me that God is no respecter of persons, He answers sincere prayers, and He is preparing the hearts of those we meet to hear the restored gospel.

In the same complex we found "J", we met a girl named "S". She and her family just moved here from Ferguson, Missouri. She has a lot of brothers and sisters. After trying several times, we finally caught them when they were home. The rest of the family was busy helping the kids with homework, but "S" let us in. She invited us to teach her. What stood out to me is that "S" is only fourteen years old. She told us that she has been reading the bible a lot, and wants to know more about God. She goes to church sometimes, but she is thirsting for more knowledge. We taught her a short lesson on the restoration and gave her a pamphlet to read. She was really confused by it, but she wants to keep meeting with us. We told her that she could pray to know if it was true, and she didn't need to understand all of it yet. We showed her the outline for prayer listed in the back of the pamphlet and told her to keep it by her bedside so she could pray every night before going to bed. 

"E" is doing all right, but ever since I've been here, she hasn't attended church. She told us she'd be at church this week, but when we called her that morning at 9:15, she told us she was busy helping a patient and couldn't make it to church. Her uncle, "J", is a recent convert, and referred "E" to us. It saddens me when I don't see him at church either. The whole time I've been here, I've seen him at church one or two times. We have a lesson today with her at Family Home Evening. FHE is hosted in the "C"'s home every Monday at 6. The "C"'s are a sweet elderly couple that rent out rooms to other people, including "J". Besides these setbacks, we are helping them both strengthen their testimonies, as we teach the lessons at FHE. We often have two lessons a week with "E", and "J" is there as often as possible. Hopefully, she'll become more converted as we continue to teach and prepare her for baptism. We moved her baptismal date from October 25 to November 22

Yesterday, Elder Tibbitts and I contacted a young man and woman from Germany! Their names were "D" and "N". They were both there on a backpacking vacation, looking for a host family's address. They were pleased to stop to talk with us. It gave me a chance to practice my German. I told them, "Ich sprache ein bisschen Deutch. Ich hat fuer zwei Jahre in Gymnasium gelernt. Meine Mutter kann auch sprechen Deutch. Sie hat ihre Mission in Deutchland gegeht." They were impressed with my German. They told us they had heard of the Mormons before, but they weren't really religious. We asked them if they had faith in Jesus and they said, "kind of." We gave them our number on a card to call in case they got lost, and we directed them to the street they were looking for. It was so cool to meet them, and it reminded me of you mom. The Lord answers the prayers in our hearts through small, tender mercies. Even though I'm not homesick, I'm glad for those tender moments God gives us to remind us of His love. 

I am going to buy a usb cable from Walmart today, so I can send you some pictures next week! Hopefully you'll get them soon. It's been a month since you've seen me. Thank you so much mom and Sarah for the package. Let Genny know I appreciated her gift. I treasure the songbooks, and I sing or read at least one song every night. I have also used the bible highlighters, and they are wonderful. I've also eaten almost all of the candied almonds. I will let you know in a few weeks if I'll be moving to another area next transfer, so after six weeks, don't send anything to my apartment, just send it to the mission office. The assistants to the President pick up the packages and deliver them to us. 

I love you all very much.

Yours truly,

Elder Herbert

Monday, October 6, 2014

Renton-October 6, 2014

Dearest family and friends,

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people in the Skyway Ward. It is a difficult area, but it is so rewarding to see the fruits of your labor when at least one person you meet stops to talk with you. Elder Tibbits has a low tolerance for people who say things like, "I'm pretty sure all churches are the same, I don't need organized religion, I'm already saved, We're Catholic," etc. I try to help him by saying that if we have faith, we'll find someone who is open to us. We always do. We have four investigators that are accepting lessons from us. We can usually weed out the new and potential investigators that aren't committed, because they almost always discontinue the lessons, and say, "we'll call you when we're ready." It is really disappointing, but I know that they weren't at all committed to learning more. Hopefully they'll remember what they felt when we approached them on the street. I am trying my best to extend the invitation "come and see" to everyone. 

I felt the spirit in each General Conference session. I am grateful to know that we have prophets on the earth today. I testify that by following their counsel, we will not be led astray. So many people we meet rely upon their own interpretation of the bible, or the interpretation of their pastor. Many have not read any of it for themselves. They say as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, "A bible, a bible! We have got a bible. We need no more bible." Some people had been Christian, but said, I went to church until I read the bible. Without the doctrine of Christ, we have no gospel. There is nothing as sweet, simple, and powerful than the words contained in the Book of Mormon. No earthly power can convince me otherwise.

Thank you so much for all of your support. I know the Lord is with me, because I've had what are referred to as "barking dogs" verbally attack us in the street. Yesterday, four obviously intoxicated men walked around the street corner and said, "Look, Mormons!" They immediately contended against us. They bombarded us with questions and scarcely left us any time to respond before attacking the Book of Mormon. "Where the heck in the Bible does it talk about the Book of Mormon?" Another man was shouting about the evils of organized religion. It was so chaotic, but I kept smiling the whole time. It was such a pathetic attempt to tear us down, that I couldn't help but be amused. Thankfully, they left. Then, we immediately found a young woman who was a member of the church, standing at the bus stop with her friend, and we chatted for some time before heading our way. Her friend was Jehovah's Witness but not strong in her faith. She said she went proselyting a couple of times with her family, and didn't like it at all. She said we were really brave. 

We are still teaching the homeless man, "B". I am touched by his humility and patience through difficult circumstances. One morning, we cooked breakfast at the homeless shelter and I was so grateful to see the love and charity that these poor and needy have for others. One man told me that there are always people less fortunate than he, so he never takes more than two pancakes. We are teaching "B" tomorrow at the church with Brother F, who teaches the church's 12 step addiction recovery class. We'll give him a lesson, and Brother F will explain the program to him. Brother F will also take him on Wednesday to the addiction recovery class.

"E" is progressing so well. We invited her to watch a session of conference at work, so hopefully she was able to do so. She said 1-3 pm was down time in the nursing home, and there is never really anything to do. After we taught her the word of wisdom she was already trying to quit smoking. She went from a half pack a day to only two a day. The Lord is preparing His people. It is a miracle, especially for her. She has a hard time keeping her commitments, because she has the mentality that she'll be able to do it "someday." But lately she's been good about reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and striving to keep the word of wisdom. 

We haven't been able to teach "J" and "T" this week, because they are always working or running errands. "T" texted us though, and said she has Sundays off work now! "J" will probably have to wait until he requests Sundays off because it has something to do with seniority. We invited them to watch General Conference yesterday, but they couldn't find the BYU channel! :( It's ok, we'll show them how to watch it online. 

I love you all and wish you the best. I'll have to get a USB drive with an SD card slot for the camera, because I can't find any plug for the cable. I did take a few pictures though! 

With love,

Elder Herbert

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Picture of Elder Herbert

This is a picture from The Washington Federal Way Mission blog taken when Elder Herbert and his fellow missionaries arrived. He is in the second row from the top and the second in from the right. Click on the picture to display it larger.

Monday, September 29, 2014

More news from the field

Renton is an interesting place. It's a suburb of Seattle. We are in an area called Skyway. It is a rough neighborhood, and there are gunshots and police sirens everyday in the central part of our ward. We are right below that area, at the bottom. It is a place that definitely needs the gospel.

Another unique challenge in this area is that many of the residents have mental illnesses, so the majority of our ward members have mental illnesses. You can imagine how interesting fast and testimony meeting was. One brother rambled on for 15 minutes, talking about some old movie stars! I can't help but to be moved with compassion for them. They really have it hard. So many elderly people in our ward live in nursing homes all alone. Many of the mentally ill members live alone as well. That is a really hard trial to deal with. They have no friends or family :( 

For example, "B" is a less active member from Vietnam. His family is all Buddhist, and they probably live back in Vietnam. From talking to him, it is clear that he has mental and social impairments. He lives by himself, in a shanty mobile home with a tin roof, and has only pets to keep him company. We painted his deck green. He also wanted us to paint the underside of it. He likes to take charge, but is easily persuaded. We finally persuaded him to stop painting under the deck, and just painted the top. :)

Here are the main reasons our less active members don't come to church: They are a part-member family, they have work all day, they can't get up at 9 am, they are too tired, they don't feel accepted, or they don't have a ride. I think many of these problems could be solved if the members felt like they had someone to talk to. They need friends. 

We only have one progressing investigator. She is a Filipino lady named "E M". She accepted our invitation to be baptized, and we set a date for October 25th! The "M"'s are a part-member family, and they hardly ever come to church. "E" works in a nursing home everyday as a nursing assistant, but her boss gave her permission to go to sacrament meeting. She says that she always finishes her nursing duties a little late because the elderly have long morning routines, and she feels awkward walking into the building late. 

We have met lots of members. One of the coolest members is "T F". He served a mission in Argentina after joining the church. His brother is opposed to the church, and sent him anti Mormon literature in the mail, telling him that it wasn't too late to stop preaching the devil's work. He has incredible faith. 

We are also teaching a homeless man named "B". When he's not looking for work, he sits on the street corner to panhandle. That's how we met him. He told us he knows God is real because He answers his prayers. He is trying to quit drinking, because his alcoholism is so bad that he gets seizures if he doesn't drink. He also smokes. He is a really humble guy because he recognizes his weaknesses, and instead of wallowing in self pity he is willing to pick himself up and try harder. He told us he would be baptized after he straightens out his life. We are also taking him to the church's addiction recovery 12 step program on Wednesday. He told us he'd give it a try, because he hates the "woe is me" attitude of AA meetings. 

It's good to hear from you all. I just got emails from Josh McDonald and Julia Barker, too! Thanks for the pictures. I just keep forgetting to bring my camera to the library and it needs new batteries. There are awesome pictures of Lake Washington, the mountains, and the distant Seattle skyline.

Much love,

Elder Herbert

Monday, September 22, 2014

Almost the First Week

Elder Herbert has been the field for almost a week now. Here are some of his experiences:

Dear family,

I haven't taken any pictures since the MTC, but I'll take some more and send them. My trainer, Elder Tibbitts is from Idaho Falls. He is a great guy. It's interesting, because we don't ride bikes now, but we will soon. We have a car, and it's a red Toyota Corolla. We also get a certain amount of miles a week. Once I give you pics, I hope to see some from you. I had an amazing week. It's really hard getting the members to come to church, so a lot of the ward is inactive. They always have an excuse not to come to church, and when they do come, it's only for a short time. Our efforts are focused a lot on finding through street contacting and reactivating members. Yesterday we had a missionary devotional and the recent converts spoke. It was so incredible and the spirit was strong. Lots of non-members came, so we're hoping it influenced them. 


Elder Herbert

I had only five minutes left on the other computer! I want to tell you about the people we contacted on the street. There are a lot of good people in Washington. Many people we talk to are super friendly, and politely decline to hear our message. Elder Tibbitts gets frustrated with them, but I know that the Lord is preparing people to receive us. The other type of person we run into acts interested but when we go set up an appointment they don't live there. Sometimes, they are drunk or high, so we aren't even sure they'll remember us the next day. A few people hurry past us, or tell us to go away.

The nicest people are usually foreigners. Once we were going to visit a less-active member in South Seattle, but they weren't home. We started walking around the neighborhood and met a Vietnamese family. They invited us inside and offered us water. We sat on the couch, and the mother ran in the back room to get her brother. He told us in broken English that he was from a refugee camp in Hong Kong, and he joined the Baptist church. He really wanted to learn more about our church, so he gave us his address and phone number. He told us his American name is Jason. He said the rest of his family is Buddhist. Elder Tibbitts and I are going to get him a Vietnamese Book of Mormon.
I hope that we can follow up with more of our street contacts, but they are all struggling to provide for their families, so they work long hours. We had hopes of contacting a woman named "S", but every time we went she wasn't home. There is still hope. We are teaching a couple named "J" and "T". They are an African American couple with a young daughter named "J". They both agreed to be baptized next month! They are really excited to learn more, so Elder Tibbitts and I will give them a tour of the chapel after the next lesson. "J" and "T" told us they had visited several churches, but they felt the truth of our church just within the first visit, and it doesn't compare to any other church they've gone to. We have also been teaching a Filipino lady through a member referral. Her name is "E". She lives with a less-active family and we've been trying to get them to come to church as much as possible. She wants to get baptized, but she can't come to church because of her work schedule. She works as a nurse in an elderly care center.

It is my goal to share with as many people as I can, so I have a stack of pass-along cards, and I'll talk to lots of people at the library, on the street, in the store, and in the Dr.'s office. I know that as we work together to bring people to the gospel on both sides of the veil, we will see the power of God manifest in our lives, and the lives of others. There are three ways that people will recognize us as servants of Jesus Christ. The first and greatest is serving out of Charity, the pure love of Christ. As we go about doing good, we will leave a huge impact on the lives of others. Second, talk to people about their families. Families are a great conversational segway to the message of the restoration. Third, is to testify boldly of the power of the Book of Mormon as the word of God and another testament of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I wish you all the best.

Love always,

Elder Herbert

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In the Field

Yes, Elder Moon was in my zone at the MTC. He is awesome. I think his first area is Enumclaw. My trainer is Elder Tibbitts. He is from Idaho Falls. Our transfer area is Renton. I'm typing this e-mail in the Renton Highlands public library. It is his last transfer, and for the one day I have been here, it's been incredible. I have so much hope for the area. Renton is an urban center, about the size of Ogden, but so much more diverse. There are Chinese, Koreans, East Europeans, Japanese, Islanders, East Indians, Native Americans, and African Americans.

A couple of people showed so much enthusiasm for learning the gospel. A woman we met street contacting, "S", was baptized in the baptist faith, but she is looking for something else. She also wants her twelve year old son to come to church. We got her address and phone number, and we are going to contact her in a day or so.  Another man, "D", is taking lessons from the Jehovah's Witnesses. He told us he's met the Mormon missionaries before, but he likes talking about religion, so we also got his contact information. 

Other people started walking a lot faster when we began to approach them. 

Thank you so much for your e-mail, and I hope to hear from you soon. 


Elder Herbert

More MTC Musings


I'm so happy for Eric and Tasha. Send them my love and congratulations. Violet is a beautiful name. Give my love to aunt Martha as well.

Tell dad to continue family history work. We were taught in Sunday evening devotional by Sunday School General President Tad Callister. He said that Christ opened up the gulf between spirit paradise and prison in order to allow passage between them. This principle is taught in parable in the sixteenth chapter of Luke. Lazarus, the beggar, was taken up into Abraham's bosom, or spirit paradise. A certain rich man was taken to hell, or spirit prison. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus with a drop of water in order to quench his thirst. Abraham said in verse 26, "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." The rich man replied, saying, "I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five bretheren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." The rich man then replied, "Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." Abraham said, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
I'm so glad you pray for me, but remember to pray also for the people I teach. I do that everyday. I'm glad to know you are all doing well.


Elder Herbert

Thank you so much Dad. I'm glad that we can uplift one another. Just remember that the Lord provides for each one of us, and He will never forget the covenants that He has made with us. As we all strive to do what He asks, even if it is hard, we will be blessed. I love you very much, and I encourage you to be strong in your most important calling, the patriarch of the home. Always remember to be faithful to that calling. As for myself, I will always be faithful to my calling. Here at the MTC I have witnessed my own miraculous conversion, and I hope to convert to the Lord everyday, and help others do the same.
Love always,
Elder Herbert

Sunday, September 7, 2014

First letter!

First letter from the MTC:

Dear Family,

I had a wonderful first day at the MTC. My district is really fun and there are great people here. I love all my leaders and teachers. I want you to know how excited I am to be here and also how nervous I am. We spoke to investigators at "People and Your Purpose," and I realized how hard it is to share the gospel with people you don't know. I hope that in the mission field, I will be able to overcome my fear of speaking to people. I know the Lord is with me, and He'll help me to overcome my fears. I hope that I can be more receptive to the Spirit and feel His influence more strongly. Although I don't feel completely adequate, I know that the Savior will qualify me for the work. I love you and I know the Lord loves you.

Yours Always,

Elder Seth L. Herbert

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The First Day of the Rest of His Mission

What a fabulous day to take your son, grandson, and brother to the Mission Training Center! We are all so excited for the new experiences and growth that Seth will experience in the MTC. Before we know it, he will be off to serve the Lord and the people of Washington Federal Way mission!