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