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