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!