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