Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Maple Valley--December 28, 2015

Dear family,

I love you all so much! This week was incredible. I learned so much about myself and missionary work. There's a big lesson I learned about being diligent when your circumstances are tough.

On Saturday, I went on exchanges. While I was there, I asked their ward mission leader if I could test my blood sugar on his glucometer. He brought it to us, and I checked my blood sugar. The meter read 594!! I called the mission nurse and she told me to check into the ER right away. I was there from 8 pm to midnight on Saturday night. I was so tired. They performed all sorts of blood tests and stuck me with an IV. The fluids helped flush the glucose out of my blood. After that my blood sugar was 117. I was diagnosed with diabetes. On Sunday, I got a glucometer, some test strips, and lancets. I also was prescribed Metformin. Today, I went to the doctor and he prescribed a higher dose of Metformin and insulin. Elder Noh and I, however, did not give up on missionary work. We read our scriptures, made plans for the next day, and even gave the nurse a restoration pamphlet with our phone number on the back. She happened to be named Jessica ;) Because of this experience, I learned that you can do the Lord's work wherever you find yourself. There is a really cool example of that in the Book of Acts, chapter 16.

19 ¶And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

 25 ¶And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

Paul and Silas, as missionary companions, were put in prison. And they converted the jailor!! I know that we can do more as disciples of Jesus Christ. When things get hard, we cannot give up. Paul and Silas easily could have given up hope. But they trusted in God. It can be difficult when it is the holidays, and people are a little less likely to let you in, but you keep tracting anyways, and God will shower blessings on you. I learned to fear God more than man. That way, you always feel of God's approval. Those who seek for God's approval over the praise of the world, are more blessed.

We taught Sister "W" the Word of Wisdom, and she committed to live it! She is very prepared. We set up a time to go to the discovery center in Bellevue, which is right behind the temple. Afterwards, we are going to show her around the temple grounds! I'm really excited for that. In addition, we are taking our mission's annual temple trip at the end of January. Could you find a family name for me to take to do an endowment? Last year it didn't get here in time. 

In answer to questions: Elder Noh and I are the only Elders that work in the office. We thankfully spend more time proselyting and spend as little time as possible in the office. President has two Elders that are assigned as Assistants. The best way to avoid temptation is to spend as much time as possible praying in your head, and ponder the scriptures. My favorite part of church is the sacrament. I love taking that time to reflect. 

I hope you all have a fun and safe trip to St. George. It sounds like it will be fun. It will probably be the same temperature as it is here! Maybe a little warmer.

I will love you forever and always,

Elder Herbert

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Maple Valley--December 21, 2015


Dear family,
This week was a very eventful week. Because it was the first week after transfers, and I am serving as an office elder, we moved a bit of furniture from place to place throughout the mission. It's cool because we drive a Chevy Silverado truck. We picked up some bed frames, box springs, and mattresses from the storage unit and drove them to Enumclaw, which is a teeny-tiny little town directly south of Maple Valley. It's still in the Maple Valley stake. It's country out there. Lots of pastures and farms. We took the remaining ones to some sisters in Puyallup because they are now in a trio companionship and they needed an extra bed. Then we took a mattress to my old companion Elder Samuels. He is serving in the Benson Hill ward in Renton. We went to go pick up a pair of bed frames from some members in Federal Way. It was beautiful. They live next to the Puget Sound. It was breathtaking. When you get to the ocean, it feels so open and calm. I hope I get to serve in Federal Way someday.

This week, a member that is returning to activity introduced her friend to us. She is a friend from work. The member's name is Sister “V”. Sister “V” just asked her friend, “S W”, if she wanted to take missionary lessons, and she said yes! She lives in Renton, but we'll still teach her because her friend lives in our ward. We taught her twice already. We had the first lesson in a member's home (The “W”s), and the other at the stake center. The whole ”W” family and Sister “V” were there for the second lesson. We softly committed her for baptism on January 16th, but she wants to study more before she commits to a solid date. The adversary is working hard on her. Before we had our second lesson, her car got stuck in a ditch, so we had to go to the place she got stuck and push her car out. Thankfully we were able to do so successfully. Take that Satan. She came to a baptismal service on Saturday but she couldn't come to church because her roommate's car was parked behind her's and they couldn't find the keys! Satan strikes again. Thankfully, we have a lesson set up with her for Tuesday at 8 at the “W”s home.
We tracted into a lady, where we taught a brief restoration lesson on her doorstep. Her name is “S E”. She opened up to us, which she said was surprising because she normally has social anxiety. She ended up telling her whole life story! She's from Tennessee. When she was younger, she was told she couldn't have any children, and it broke her heart. She eventually ended up accepting the fact that she wouldn't have any kids. She and her husband lived the good life for quite a while, until they found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately, her baby miscarried and she stopped believing in God. After several experiences however, she regained her faith in God. Then she had two more kids after that. Two little girls. It was actually one of her daughters that opened the door. She told us that if it wasn't for that, she probably would have not answered the door. We prayed with her and then set a return appointment for Saturday. I guess we'll see how it goes. God works in so many mysterious ways!

There are a lot of people that get dissuaded from meeting with us, because there is a lot of opposition. Family, friends, co-workers, anti-literature, etc. What should we do to prepare potential and current investigators for opposition? That is one obstacle that we are trying to overcome.
The members here are rockstars at sharing the gospel! We are preparing quite a few families to invite their friends to meet with us. Some are neighbors, so it will be in our ward. We met with a member family, the “P”s and talked about a neighbor. His name is “J W”. Sister “P” told us that he'd hit rock bottom after trying to end his life. He was life-flighted to the hospital. They started talking and he feels like something is missing in his life. He is looking for a church. She said that he would be the last person they'd invite to meet us because before his suicide attempt, he was a mean, gruff guy. He even yelled at neighbors for driving on his curb. But now, he's really soft spoken. She told him that we believe in living prophets that guide us, and in a plan of salvation. She bore her testimony that we came from heaven. He was fascinated by that. He said, "Really? I always believed that we came from heaven. And I always wondered about why God has prophets in the Bible and they aren't here anymore."

I'm really excited to work in this ward. I love you all and I can't wait to talk on Christmas!

Love,
Elder Herbert

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Auburn--December 15, 2015

Dear Family,
 
I'm so excited for this upcoming transfer. I will be serving in the Elk Run ward in the Maple Valley stake. My new companion is Korean American. His name is Elder Noh. It's funny because I will be in the same building. Elder Samuels is going to the Benson Hill ward in the Renton stake and Lake Holm is getting replaced with sister missionaries!!!!! I'm so excited. We even got a new investigator named “N” committed for baptism on February 6th. She's African American. We found out that her oldest son, who is 15 now, got baptized a member in Bellevue a couple years ago. We were meant to come in contact with her. I also think that the Lord knows she'll progress faster with sister missionaries.

I wrote down all of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the families I love so we can stay in contact when I'm off my mission. Hopefully Brother “W” will be baptized by the time I come back. The sisters will absolutely love their family. I already know one of the sisters that will be serving in Lake Holm. Her name is Sister Frischneckt. She was in my district when I served in Kent. The other sister's name is Sister Gaza. Sorry I opened my presents already, but I don't mind opening them early. I'll get to skype you on Christmas, and I get to enjoy the company of members and their festivities. In fact, we need to set a time to skype. I don't know who we'll be having dinner with, but let's plan on skyping at 6. It will be 7 in Utah so plan to get on skype at 7! I'm really excited to talk to you face to face! Just like Moses talked with God face to face.

I love you all and hope that you have a good week!

Love,

Elder Herbert

Monday, December 7, 2015

Auburn--December 7, 2015


Dear family,

I love you all so much. I know that even though I am going through many struggles, the Lord is blessing me with strength and good courage. In fact, today I read Joshua 1:9 to a little boy that was at the Doctor getting his shots. It was really funny because he gave me his e-mail address so I can write to him on Mondays. He was really outgoing. His name is “L”. Elder Samuels was there getting a check-up. I did get your package. Unfortunately, I opened it before I could read this week's e-mail. Sorry! Today I'm going to buy some new shoes with the money that I have remaining on my card. Thank you so much for the sweater, the gift cards, and the sketchbook with sharpies. I also love seeing your smiling faces. Ha-ha. Elder Samuels asks Jessica: in the pictures, where is your other eye? XD Thanks for sending your patriarchal blessing. It is so you! I loved reading it. Your Heavenly Father knows you so well.

This week might be the last week I'm in the Lake Holm ward. Transfers are next Tuesday. If I do get transferred, I hope that my new ward is cool. I love serving in this ward and I don't want to leave it. Things are starting to pick up as we just got a new ward mission leader and two assistants. Bishop keeps apologizing that the ward hasn't been as focused on missionary work and he wants to pick it back up. That's why he changed the mission leadership. Elder Samuels and I got to stand in the circle as Bishop set them apart. It was a neat experience.

Love,
Elder Herbert

Monday, November 30, 2015

Auburn--November 30, 2015

Dear Family,

Thank you for your love and support. This week was a really rough week. We taught no lessons this week. I can see the Lord's hand though because we found 16 new potential investigators. So that's a bonus. It's really disappointing when your investigators are really busy and don't make time to meet. I feel like some of them are just falling through the cracks. “L” is slipping away from us. She really doubts her decision to learn about the church. She is hanging out with the wrong crowd. We met one of her friends and he was just really disrespectful, rude, and obnoxious. His name was “T”. She tells us that she has temptations with drugs, sex, and bad language. She's only 15 years old. That's Aaron's age. My heart breaks for her.

Sometimes it's really hard to watch those that you care for make all the wrong decisions. I took a step back and realized that at one point, I was Lexi. I wasn't making the right decisions. I teetered back and forth between wanting to change and being afraid to change. It took lots of love and support from good friends, leaders, and parents. I keep praying for her. That's all we can do for right now.

I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving. We had Thanksgiving dinner at the Church. It was sponsored by the VanQuill's for anyone in the ward that had no family in town for the Holidays. Bishop and his wife were there. There were a few other members there as well. Sister Mitchell came. It was really good too! It was a great experience.

Thanks for sending a sweater! I look forward to it.

Thank you so much Grandma for the money. I love you so very much. I also had a question about music. What is the difference between time signatures like 2/4 and 4/8? Are they conducted differently? Do they differ in tempo or expression? In 4/8 do you conduct 2 or 4 beats to a measure? I hope you are doing well. I keep meaning to write letters home, but it's really hard to find time on P-day. I will be writing handwritten letters today though. 

Jessica and Aaron, Mockingjay 2 sounds awesome! I hope you two are doing well. Jessica, send me a picture of you with your braces off! I want to see your beautiful face!!! I'll be sending some pics from Elder Samuels' camera. Also Jessica, I was wondering if you would send a copy of your patriarchal blessing. I was excited to have you read my blessing. I wouldn't show it to anyone else.  

Sarah, I love the Saul to Paul conversion story. I've read it a few times before. Some of my favorite scriptures are in the epistles, after Jesus leaves and the apostles are leading the church. I love how devoted they were to missionary work and how patient they were in trials. There is so much that you can learn from their examples. I wish that I could go to the temple every day, but we only get to go once a year. Cherish those moments when you get to do baptisms for the dead. Then you'll be prepared for the day when you get your endowment. It is a really cool experience. 

I love you all so much. I know that we'll be together FOREVER! 

Love,


Elder Herbert

Monday, November 23, 2015

Auburn--November 23, 2015

Dear Family,


Elder Herbert and Elder Samuels
Thank you so much for the pictures! I'm glad that Sister “A” was able to send you a picture of me. This week was good. We had snow on Elder Samuels' birthday but it hasn't snowed since. It's actually been pretty sunny lately. It gets really frosty in the morning. We bought a bear claw window scraper at Fred Meyer's last P-Day. It works great! Thank you for the extra money. I was able to buy socks, but I also got gloves, ate out a couple of times, and bought stuff to paint with. I'd actually like to know how much you put on my card. I would really like some snacks and treats. I'd also like a gift card to Wendy's and Taco Bell. I'm out of money this month. Elder Samuels is too. We thought we'd buy everything at the beginning of the month so it would last for the transfer, but it didn't work. We don't even have money for milk. That's pretty much it. If you could, could I get more money on my card? I'll need it to purchase a new sweater and boots. I have my shoes from a couple months ago but they aren't warm enough for my feet. 
Elder Herbert

This week, we met with Sister “M” again and out of the blue she told us that a coworker has been reading the Book of Mormon with her. We challenged her to invite her coworker over to her house for a lesson! We are so excited! This week, I have been focusing a lot on reading the scriptures and praying with real intent. Elder Samuels says it's really cool how I'm able to pray and immediately recognize the answer. It's because I've actually been asking questions as I pray. The more specific your questions, the more specific answers you'll receive. That is what we learned about in Zone conference this week. It was a neat experience. This week, I am going to be focused on receiving answers to prayer in the scriptures. 

Thank you so much for everything you do.     

P.S.  Elder Samuels is bummed that you haven't e-mailed him anymore. He'd like to hear from you again. 

I love you all so much.

Elder Herbert


Friday, November 13, 2015

Auburn--November 9, 2015

Elder Herbert in the woods
Dear forever family,

I'm so happy to hear that you are ponderizing the scriptures. As a mission, we have a ponderizing scripture once a week. This week ours is 2 Nephi 9:23. It goes along with our goal of baptizing 40 people this month. This week, we found a new investigator. Her name is “C”. She is 10 years old and she's really shy. She is “L P”'s sister. We've been teaching “L P” for a couple weeks now. She is 15 years old and she's been to church a few times. She is a really smart girl. She has lots of friends from school that are in our ward. She agreed to be baptized. Her date was November 21st but we'll have to push it back because we haven't taught the Word of Wisdom yet. We committed “C”n for baptism on December 19. It was funny. “L” said, "If I have to get dunked, you're going down with me." 

I love you all so much. Dad, thank you for sharing what you learned in Priesthood. I'd actually love to hear some mission stories from you and mom so I can learn what sort of things you experienced as well. I haven't been as diligent at keeping a journal, but I've been spending some of my free time writing poems and drawing. I bought blank sheet music so I can write songs on the piano. Elder Samuels and I love to play music together. He's phenomenal at the guitar. Thank you mom for putting money on my card.

Elder Herbert and Elder Samuels
Mom, it's exciting that you're getting your endorsement to teach ESL. It's funny because that's actually one of the suggestions in our daily planner for finding people to teach. It's one of those things that's hard to advertise and organize. I don't even know where I'd begin.

Jessica, I'm so excited for you and your externship at the Pharmacy. How did you decide that's what you wanted to do? 

I can't wait to hear from you next week.

Love,


Elder Herbert

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Auburn-November 2, 2015

Dear Family,

Jessica, do you know when “J H” is getting here? I'd love to meet him! I'm glad that your week went well. Sadly, “C G” moved to another town. We're trying to get in contact with him by phone, but he's not responding :( Oh well. That's how missionary work goes. I hope you enjoy reading about the experiences that I have. It leads me to think about what my siblings think about serving missions. I hope every one of you desires to serve a mission. That's one thing I wanted to ask Jessica. Do you have plans to serve a mission? I know that it would bless your life tremendously. I hope my letters have made you consider it. And even if you don't I hope they inspire you to grow spiritually.

I was also wondering if you wouldn't mind sending me a copy of your patriarchal blessing. I was so excited to hear that you made the decision to get one! Even though it gets rough and tough from time to time, serving a mission is the greatest experience I've ever had. I feel closer to God than at any time in my life. It can be daunting to see where people are now and what they need to do to get eternal life, but I've met so many people that have unlocked the powers of the atonement to truly turn their lives around. One of those people is Brother “S”. It is a testimony to me that no matter what you do, be it drugs, immorality, alcohol, or theft, you can change. You can also bring the spirit with you wherever you go. In almost every area I've served there have been places that are less than appealing. But you can truly bring the light of the gospel wherever you go. These people have broken families, parents that use drugs, and family members involved with gangs. But when you bring the gospel, they see what you have, and they want a taste of it. I know that the atonement has the power to lift people out of the world, no matter their background because God loves each of His children, no matter what.

I went with a recently returned missionary to the baptism, and Elder Samuels stayed with a member for the ward Halloween party. The RM is “C M”, and he served a mission in Santa Rosa California. He and I went to my favorite Filipino restaurant in Kent and we had great food! Then we went to the baptism. I actually gave the talk on baptism. The spirit was so strong. If I could describe it, it was like someone took a bucket of hot water and dumped it on me. It was electrifying. Baptisms are one of the best places to feel the spirit. When they are conducted properly, it's like attending the temple. 

I can't wait to hear from you again next week!

Love,

Elder Herbert

Monday, October 26, 2015

Auburn--October 26, 2015

Dear Family,

We had a wonderful week. We invited two investigators to be baptized this week. One is named Calvin Griffin. He's an African American man. We also invited a man named Dre Kilby. He's also African American. Brother Griffin agreed to be baptized on November 21st. Brother Kilby said he'd have to give it more thought. I am so excited to help these good people enter the waters of baptism. This Saturday, on Halloween night, I'm attending Brother Sledge's baptism!! I am extremely excited for that. He asked me if I could give the talk on baptism. The members are really cool. We've met so many that are already sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors. We went to the Hartwig's for dinner last night. They told us that they're trying to invite as many people as they can for dinner with the missionaries, but they keep getting turned down. It's so cool to me that they continually invite even when they face rejection.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have members that afraid to go home teaching to less active and part-member families. Some even told the High Priests group leader to only assign active families. But that's one minor hurdle that we can overcome. Keep your love and prayers coming.

In answer to Jessica's question: Elder Samuels is from Salem, UT. He also wants to know if it's ok for him to write you guys. And when is Jessica's boyfriend coming to my mission? I forgot his name. 

I was wondering if you sent my Claude Debussy piano book in the mail. 

I was wondering if you could also send some more socks. Mine are getting holes in them. 

Love you so much,

Elder Herbert

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Auburn--October 21, 2015


Elder Herbert and Elder Samuels
Dear family,
I had an incredible week. First of all, a miracle occurred. A girl named “L” started attending church with her friends in Young Women's. She is good friends with a lot of the Young Women in our ward, and she went a couple of times to Mutual with them. She happens to be the daughter of an inactive member in our ward. Her grandmother however, is fully active in another ward in Auburn. She told her friends that she wanted to take the missionary lessons! She said that she has memories of going to Primary when she was little, but she was never baptized. We got in contact with the missionaries from her grandmother's ward. They are going to teach the first lesson at her grandmother's house. I am amazed at what the Lord can do. I know that our God is a God of miracles. 

Yesterday, we had our visit with Elder Lawrence of the seventy. It was an amazing experience. I absolutely loved his talk this last conference, "What Lack I Yet?" He came and told us that we NEED to baptize more people as a mission. He said we can do it. Together, with the mission leaders, he set a goal for 40 baptisms throughout the mission this November. He said that in order to do it, we would need greater faith, greater obedience, and greater sacrifice. It's doable, because we already have over 80 people committed to baptism as a mission. Now, we need to focus our efforts on finding more people to teach and commit to baptism. Please pray for our mission's goal. I know that if you do, our collective faith will work wonders. I am thinking about it constantly. Elder Lawrence used his experience in the medical field to give an analogy. He said that investigators committed to baptism are like ICU patients in a hospital. They need the most critical care. He said we need to contact them EVERY day. Our greatest efforts should be directed toward them, because Satan will be working hard at them.

His wife, Sister Lawrence, gave an amazing talk about the election of the House of Israel. She taught us, using the scriptures, how the people of Israel were elected to be the Lord's covenant people in the pre-mortal existence, based upon their faith and obedience. All of us, because we were born in the covenant, qualified to be Israelites by blood. We were chosen by God. She talked about how Israel was scattered among the Gentiles so they could be a light to the Gentiles. If it were not for the scattering of Israel, the world would be more wicked than Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord has revealed the Book of Mormon to be the tool for gathering the lost tribes. We are literally fulfilling prophecy. The Book of Mormon is the greatest missionary tool. These Israelites are lost "among the heathen." They are the elect of God. When we are praying to be led to the "elect," we are praying to find people with Israelite blood. Sister Lawrence explained that gentiles, without any Israelite blood are not likely to accept the fullness of the gospel, even though they too have a fair chance. She said they are usually the ones that slam the door in our face. It's interesting. Even though they are not likely to obtain the fullness of salvation, because they ultimately chose to follow God's plan and receive a physical body, they will at least inherit a place in the terrestrial or telestial kingdom. When you receive your patriarchal blessing, you are told from what tribe you originate. When gentiles do happen to receive the gospel, their blessing states that they are "heirs of the blessings of Abraham," even though they are not Israelites by blood and do not originate from one of the twelve tribes. So they have a chance for the fullness of salvation. Even though we are the elect of god, we can fall from His grace if we break our covenants and forget the commandments. It doesn't guarantee a place in the celestial kingdom. In order to obtain it, we must perform the necessary ordinances of salvation and keep the associated covenants. When we are sealed in the temple, we receive the greatest blessings promised to us through the Abrahamic covenant.

I am so excited to baptize more people. I know that we can do it if we get the ward excited about missionary work. The future of missionary work in this ward rests with the youth. They are strong and valiant. We have so many youth that want to prepare to serve missions. I am really concerned because one young woman has a less active father. “M D” wants to serve a mission, but the only real support she gets is from her mother and younger sisters. She is a sophomore in high school. Her older brother and father aren't active in the church. Their home teacher Brother “L” says they went less active because they admitted that they don't have a real testimony of the restoration. I will be praying really hard to help the “D” family. 
I love you and can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love,
Elder Herbert

Monday, October 12, 2015

Auburn--October 12, 2015

Dear Forever Family,

This week was wonderful. I just love working with Elder Samuels. He is a great Elder and he has a lot of enthusiasm. This week was a rough week. We have been struggling to have lessons. All of our set appointments fell through. We set up a lot too! The only lesson we taught was to a less active sister who is leaving to Eastern Washington at the end of the month. The Zone Leaders called last night and invited us to pray with greater faith. I felt that it was an answer to my prayers on what we could do to increase our ability to teach. I'm going to try it! It will be a great experience. Although we didn't teach much this week, we found seven different potential investigators! One was a Muslim man named “J”. He is from Afghanistan. We found him as we were knocking on the door of a less-active member who moved. He told us that although he has different beliefs, he loves to learn about other religions, and he will never refuse anyone who knocks on his door. 

I'm so glad to hear that Jessica received her patriarchal blessing. I'm so excited to hear about it. I also can't wait to receive your package. 

This week, I'm going to do a continual study on baptism and the temple. As I do, I hope to increase my understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that without the ordinances of the priesthood and the atonement of Jesus Christ, we could not return to live with Heavenly Father. I feel so blessed to understand this, and to be sealed to all of you for time and eternity. I feel so blessed that I want to share it with everyone I meet. 

P.S. I was telling Elder Samuels about how much I love to play classical music. He and I have been composing piano pieces on P-Day. Could you send another package with my Debussy piano book in it? I would love to play those pieces of music on P-Day. 

Thanks so much for everything!

Love,


Elder Herbert  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Auburn--October 5, 2015

Dear family,

I am so grateful to hear from you each week. I'm excited to receive your letters. My first week with Elder Samuels has been wonderful. He has just finished training, so he has been out for a little less than Elder Jiao. We had a really cool experience this week. We went to visit a recent Chinese convert in our ward, Sister "K". We have been worried that she hasn't been attending church often. My goal was further than that, however. I was determined to find new investigators, because Sister "K" lives with some other people. We met her friend "E", and her husband. We actually had the opportunity to teach "E" with Sister "K" there. "E"'s husband was busy entertaining the children. What a wonderful family. "E" is due for labor any day now! After she delivers, she will have two daughters. She was really open to learning more about God. We taught her about the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We invited her to pray at the end of the lesson. She offered a simple, heartfelt prayer in Chinese. I was struggling to understand, but the spirit filled the room. It was a miracle.

Lately, I have been contemplating a scripture that I read in the Doctrine and Covenants. It stood out to me. D&C 5:14 "And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Every time I read this verse, I get goosebumps. I know that the Lord gave power to Joseph Smith in order to bring His church out of the wilderness. This verse impressed me so much that I decorated my planner with the verse of scripture on it and found pictures of Captain Moroni to use as the background.

Elder Lawrence, who just spoke at this conference, will be touring our mission in a couple of weeks. I loved his talk. Sometimes, as we ask God for what we can do to improve, the Spirit whispers something totally unexpected and surprising- like clean your room.

I love you all and hope to hear from you soon.

Love,

Elder Herbert

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Auburn-September 29, 2015

Dear family,

I am so glad to hear from you. Sadly, Elder Jiao is leaving Auburn. But the coolest thing is that he is going to serve in my first ward, Skyway. There are a lot of Chinese people there! I am so excited for him. That means I won't have language study anymore, and we won't be able to go visit Chinese people. But that's ok. Now we can focus on teaching as many people as we can in our own area. That will take a load off my shoulders. I don't need to teach English anymore. My new companion is Elder Samuels. I was really excited to hear that Jess met a guy that is coming to my mission. More likely than not, we'll see each other at zone conferences.

The last Sunday I had with Elder Jiao was amazing. This Sunday was Zhong Qiu Jie (Mid-Autumn festival). It falls on the fifteenth day of the 8th lunar month. Sister "Q" invited us to her house to celebrate. The food was incredible! It was real, authentic Chinese food. The meat was so tender and juicy. I can't wait to travel to China someday. We talked to a lot of people. Elder Jiao even taught a lesson to a man in Chinese upstairs. His name is "J W". He is from Kun Ming in the province of Yun Nan, which is close to the border between China and Laos. He told Elder Jiao that he wants to follow Jesus Christ, but he doesn't know how. He said that it makes him sad to see so much corruption. He is Chief of Police where he's from, and he sees his superiors accept bribes to let criminals get away with their crimes. He is pressured to accept bribes as well, but he knows that it is wrong. Elder Jiao told him that although there is evil in the world, God watches over us and cares for us. We told him that even though there is probably no branch of the church in his province, he can look up information on the Chinese Mormon.org page. On his trip to Las Vegas, he even stopped at temple square!! That was incredible. Dad, you told me you had a feeling I would preach the gospel in China. This is as close as anything! I know that the Lord is preparing the hearts of people the world over for the gospel. It is my privilege to meet those people. What a neat experience! Brother "W" told me that if I ever go to China, to give him a call, and he would give me a tour of Yun Nan province! Elder Jiao has his phone number.

I can't wait to share my experiences with Elder Samuels. I hope you all have a great week. 




Love,

Elder Herbert

Friday, September 25, 2015

Auburn-September 21, 2015

Dear family,

I am so happy to hear from you. I certainly love this state. It is incredible. There is a lot of work to be done. There are so many people in this mission that are prepared to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we just have to find them. It can get discouraging in this area. We have a really hard time finding new investigators. I feel confident, however, that as we do our best to talk with people and get the ball rolling, we can enlist the help of members, and the work will explode. Our mission president sent an e-mail with this picture attached. This is a family that was baptized last Saturday. They were found with the help of ward members. Look at how happy those sister missionaries look!! Isn't it so exciting? I know for sure that the gospel is restored and that if we do our best to bring souls unto Christ, God will certainly help us out!

God loves each and every one of his children and He wants them to return home to live with Him. The only way to do that is for them to be baptized through the priesthood authority of God. I know that is what gives me the greatest confidence to talk with everyone I see. But sometimes I get nervous and I forget that. I need to remember that God wants ALL of His children back to live with Him. That is why we need to talk to EVERYONE. 

We have a few potential investigators. In fact, we taught a little bit of the restoration to one as he was sitting under a tree and it was raining outside. He gave us his number and apartment number and told us to call him. We found a Chinese exchange student that is living with a host family and gave us his number. He wants to come to church with us!

Things are definitely going to start happening, I can feel it. I just hope that I can catch up when they do! ;)

Love,

Elder Herbert

Monday, September 14, 2015

Auburn-September 14, 2015


Dear family,

Tracting!
Hiking in the beautiful woods

This week was an interesting week. I had the good fortune of tracting into an anti-Mormon gentleman. He let us right inside and proceeded to tell us everything that was wrong with our faith. He showed us pictures of him standing outside the Manti pageant handing out anti-Mormon tracts. He told us that he wanted to help us see the error of our ways and "truly" accept the Savior. But everything about him was feigned. He spoke of God, but his demeanor was ungodly. He exemplifies Isaiah's words, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." 

But, on the other hand, we have members of the church to back us up. There are 15 million members and counting!!!!

We are teaching a part member family, the “Ws”. Brother “W”, who isn't a member, has a coworker that tries to shake his faith in the Book of Mormon. I told the Ward Council and they got really concerned about Brother “W”'s progress. Brother “W” hasn't let this man shake his belief in the Book of Mormon, but it is still a concern. Unfortunately, with his son's football schedule, we haven't been able to sit down with them as a family. I need to think of an appropriate way to invite him to be baptized, because he's already been invited countless times. 

More beauty in Washington
We need to find new investigators. I think we'll be able to find new ones contacting, tracting, and visiting formers. We also have to wait for some to get over an illness. Other than looking for new people to teach, we have been working to reactivate members. According to Preach My Gospel, as we visit less-active members and help members with their home teaching, it will help us obtain referrals. I think that as we reactivate members, we'll have more people to teach. 

Dinner with members
I love you all. I know the work I do is of God. I know that as I persevere, I will find people ready to accept the gospel. 

PS. I speak a little bit of Chinese with Elder Jiao. I mostly read and write in Chinese. I should speak it more, however. President Eaton has allowed me to check out Mandarin books from the library.

I have no idea what the brick structure is. It looked really old though! It's really cool to see all the old stuff here. There is a house on Green Valley road, right next to the freeway on ramp. It's called Neely Mansion. It was established in the 1890's. One of our members, the “B”s, have an old farmhouse that was built in 1906! 

Since I have more time, I'll send you more pictures.

Love,

Elder Herbert



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Auburn--September 8, 2015

Dear family,

Tracting
I will keep Grandma and Grandpa in my prayers! I'm glad that you are able to work through difficulties. That is the greatest exercise of our faith. Since being on my mission, I've learned that the Lord expects us to exercise the kind of faith where you have hope for good things to happen even if everything seems to be going wrong. It was a lesson I learned in Kent. I had a struggle working effectively and diligently because I saw no results from my efforts. I thought, "What difference is it going to make?" I had to learn how to rely on the Lord and trust His timing. I now realize that my efforts may contribute to growth in that area in the future. It's hard when you can't see the end, but you have to have hope for the future. That kind of faith never fails. 

This week was great. I have learned that the Lake Holm ward is very versatile. The socioeconomics vary widely. There are neighborhoods with million dollar mansions, and there are backwoods manufactured homes that are falling apart. I will include some pictures to show you. It's really interesting. The former mission financial clerk lives in a million dollar mansion. The development is called Washington National and it is situated on a golf course. 

Baptism
Hiking on P-day
We had a baptism! Sister “L M” was baptized this Saturday. I had the opportunity to confirm her on Sunday. It was wonderful. Her two young boys kept throwing paper and garbage into the font. We had to keep them contained during the service. They are wild. The oldest is 4 and the youngest is 2. As you know, in missionary service, people drop in and out. “B” and “D” are no longer interested. They told us they really weren't looking to join the Mormon Church. But we found some new people. We had a lesson with the wife of a Baptist preacher. Her name is “S”. I was on exchange, so I wasn't there. Elder Jiao told me she (understandably) has doubts about the reality of the apostasy. I think that will be the biggest hurdle to overcome. We actually tracted into her. She lives in one of the farthest reaches of our area. It takes about 20 minutes to drive there from our apartment. 

Auburn is definitely one of the most interesting places I've been to. There are lots of people, at least in the downtown area. There is an Indian Reservation here. I've seen some Native people walking around. Their tribe is called Muckleshoot. When I went on exchange, I actually drove past all the casinos and the tribal high school. 

More tracting
I went on exchanges with my district leader. He and his companion work in the Marshallese branch. What a fun language. Their favorite word to say is Emman (yehmon). It means "good, or OK, or yeah" Their culture is so laid back. Their favorite past times are to eat, sleep, and play basketball or baseball. In fact, on Labor day, there was a tournament at the park for Marshallese basketball and baseball. Marshallese people from all over the Northwest came. There were so many Marshallese people. They come from the Marshall Islands, which is close to Micronesia. They are all very willing and ready to learn about the gospel. The coolest thing is that they are such a close-knit community that it's easy to get referrals. The biggest challenge for many of them is that they live with boyfriends/girlfriends even though they haven't divorced their spouse. I think they get married in the Islands, and then they move to America and live with someone else. Paying for the divorce is a challenge for many. They of course have very humble circumstances. They also switch children a lot. They'll take their friends' or cousin's children and keep their own children with friends in the Marshall Islands while they move to America. Their idea of family is very different than ours. It was really interesting to learn about their culture.

Well, I hope you have a really good week.

Love,


Elder Herbert




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Auburn--August 31, 2015

Dear family,

I'm so excited to tell you my experiences. It is really cool to hear about Elder Jiao's experiences. When he was young, his parents divorced and he lived with his grandparents just until last year. His grandmother died and he misses her a lot. He lives with his mom now. The ward members love Elder Jiao. They love to hear his story and testimony. He struggles a lot with feeling inadequate. He has a really hard time speaking English. But for being out only 3 months, he is doing just fine. It's really hard when I want to explain something, but I don't know how to say it so he'll understand. He cannot understand when I converse with people in English, so I have to take time to explain what we said simply. Every day at language study, he repeats the words on his flashcards, and I work out of the missionary Mandarin book to learn the discussions in Chinese. So far, I can explain that God is our loving Heavenly Father, how He ordained the family, and how he calls prophets to teach us. It's just as hard for me to learn Chinese as it is for Elder Jiao to learn English because of the tones. 

Shen shi wo men de Tian Fu. "God is our loving Heavenly Father."
Wo men shi Ta de hai zi. "We are His children."
Ta pai wo men lai dao zhe ge shi jie xue xi he cheng zhang. "He sent us to this earth to learn and grow."
Ta yao wo men hui dao Ta de shen bian. "He wants us to return to his side."
Ta zhun bei yi ge ji hua bang zhu wo men hui dao Ta de shen bian. "He prepared a plan to help us return to his side."

This week was incredible! We had a lesson with a part-member family, the “W” family. We explained to Brother “W” (the non-member) what D&C was. He had a few questions about church history and Joseph Smith. Their family is incredible. I feel that he and his son are going to join the church. I don't know when, but they will. Brother “W” grew up Southern Baptist in Texas. He said before he married Sister “W”, he never would have considered picking up the Book of Mormon. But now, he believes it is scripture. 

We had a cool experience where we tracted into a less active family. They don't have records in our ward, but they invited us to come back. There are non-linear blessings that come from street contacting and tracting. 

Earlier this week, I felt prompted to call a less active member on our ward list. His name is “A H”. I called him and he told me that his home teachers just came over on Sunday. He told them that he wanted to come back to church. He related this to me over the phone. I set up an appointment with him for Tuesday night. He came to sacrament meeting this week! He hasn't been to church in years.

Here are some pictures from around the apartment. 







Love you,


Elder Herbert

Monday, August 24, 2015

Auburn--August 24, 2015

Dear family,

This week was amazing!!!! I love this ward so much! The area is huge. It takes us 15 minutes to drive to church. We also live about 5 minutes outside of our ward boundaries. We live close to downtown Auburn. To get to church, you have to drive up a really steep, windy road. The houses and neighborhoods are really spread out and there is a lot of farmland. Elder Jiao was trained in this ward. He's been out for 3 months. He is from Beijing. He and his mother joined the church when he was 15. His mother's friend introduced them to the gospel. In China, very few people are religious. The government discourages religion in general, so mostly everyone is atheist. Because Elder Jiao is currently the only Mandarin speaker in the mission, we have permission to teach Chinese people anywhere in the mission. In fact, today we are going to teach a recent convert in Kent, Sister “Q”. Every day we have language study, I learn new Chinese words. It's incredible how far my companion has come. When he first got to the US, the only word he knew in English was "hello." Elder Jiao put up a motivational statement on the white board. It says "Mei tian jin bu yi dian dian" (Every day improve a little bit).

I'm really excited for the work in this ward. We have one investigator really close to baptism. Her name is “L M”. We're also working with a couple of part member families and preparing them to accept a baptismal date. Everyone here is super nice. Elder Jiao and his last companion found a couple down the street from the church building that we're going to start teaching. They are incredibly nice. They have a lot of questions about the church and religion in general. Their names are “B” and “D”. “B” left the Catholic church because he hated how they were told when to pray and how to pray. He said that one time as a teenager he asked his dad if he could go to his Mormon friend's church and he said no. He asked why not and his dad said "because they're Mormon." haha. He says now that he's grown up he can go to whatever church he wants to. “D” has a lot of questions about the afterlife. She wants to know what we believe about heaven. She also just met her long lost sister, and she happens to be Mormon. We have a set lesson with them on Thursday night. 

The Lord is preparing the hearts of so many people to accept the gospel. The field is white, already to harvest! Yesterday, a brother in the ward gave a talk on missionary work and the spirit was overwhelming. The only time I feel the spirit that strongly is whenever missionary work is discussed. He said that he served a mission in North Carolina, where many did not want to hear the message of the Restoration but invited him in to tell him that he was wrong and that his religion was a lie. He said that he recently sifted through a box of mission stuff and he came across a bed sheet that he wrote the standard of truth on. These are the prophetic words of Joseph Smith. “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

The other day I found a really cool scripture in the book of Jeremiah about missionary work. Jeremiah 16:16 "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." I find it interesting that the Lord says he will send hunters after he sends out fishers. We live in the days where we need to hunt not fish

This is how I apply the scripture: "...and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and from every garage, and from every sidewalk, and from every cul-de-sac."

What an incredible time to be alive. I know I was sent here at this time for a specific purpose. God can use my talents and abilities to work miracles in the lives of others. The spirit I feel when I am engaged in missionary work motivates me to do my best to bring souls unto Christ. I love you all so much and I can't wait to tell you about my experiences.

P.s. I'm so happy that Jessica is going to see the patriarch. Happy Birthday, Jessica. I love you and miss you so much. Just know that I left you for a short time to help other families live together for eternity. I know that the work I am engaged in is of God. I feel so strongly that I was called here on the Lord's errand. He chose me. He inspires me. He qualifies me. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you. 

Love,


Elder Herbert