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