Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kent--July 27, 2015

Elder Herbert (top left) at Zone Conference.

Dear family,

This week was a good one. It started getting cooler and cloudier. It's awesome that we get to take a break from the blazing hot sun. I sent you a picture of all the missionaries in my zone. I hope you like it. I'm sorry mom, but I haven't been able to find my camera. I think I may have left it in the apartment in Manorwood. I'll have to check my bags again. I'll let you know if I find it. I will keep sending you pictures from zone conference though! That way you can still tell if I'm alive. 

We met an amazing woman this week. Her name is Sister “M”. She and her son are converts to the church. They joined last month on June 6th! She currently lives outside of our mission in Lacey, WA. She got a hold of us because some of her friends here in Kent are moving to Eastern WA and they needed help moving. She thought it would be great to call the elders that lived in their area! She's originally from PA. I told her that's where I was born and she asked what part. I told her Lancaster, and she said that she lived close by. The area code for her phone number is 507. She told us the move would be a great missionary opportunity. Afterward we went over to a member's home and sent them as a referral to their new address. We also contacted the bishop of that ward to inform him of the referral. Their new house is only a block away from the church building! They also live within 15 minutes of the Colombia River temple. Sister “M” took us grocery shopping and bought us a whole bunch of junk food! She's awesome!

Later this week, we found some new potential investigators. I met a lady named “S” on Saturday. I just said hi and walked over to her porch and started teaching her the restoration. I asked her if she would be baptized if she found out it was true. She said she would. She had an eye patch. Elder Holden asked what happened to her eye, and it somehow transitioned to the gospel. That was a cool experience. 

None of our investigators made it to church this week. Brother “S” was sick, and we lost contact with the “T” family. We'll see what happens with them. I hope they didn't move. I keep praying that we'll find new people to teach, and their hearts will be softened. Elder Holden and I are trying to set up lessons with members.

Anyways, I know that I'm doing the most important work. At least I'm trying to fulfill my calling to the best of my ability. Please keep the ward in your prayers as well. I'm not sure if I'm staying or leaving after this transfer. I know that the Lord knows where I'm supposed to go. I trust that he has a purpose for me being here and has a purpose for every area I serve in.

There are holes in the bottom of my shoes now. Could you send me a pair of waterproof shoes for my birthday? That's really all I need. I love you all so much.


Elder Herbert

Kent--July 20, 2015

Dear family,

We had an interesting week. On Saturday, all the elders and sisters in the zone marched in a parade for the city of Covington. We sang hymns and handed out pass along cards. The parade announcer introduced us to all the people at the parade. It was an interesting experience. Afterward, we took turns manning an informational booth at the fair. It was a good idea, but it wasn't as good of a turn out as we expected. I don't think Elder Holden and I talked to a single person. 

This week, we only taught two lessons. But during one of the lessons, I felt impressed to give Brother “S” the family history stories you gave me. He'll read them and make copies for others to read too. He asked what it was like for me to grow up Mormon. He told me he's never asked any of the elders about their conversion stories before me. Although we only had a couple of lessons, I still had a good week. We went to a mission devotional yesterday night. Brother “S” was able to give us a ride. He loved it. He said he felt the spirit so strong that he almost cried! And he's a tough guy. Elder Holden's convert from Auburn got to speak at the mission devotional. She had a really cool conversion story. She was active in another church. Her coworker, who is a member, gave her a pamphlet about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She read it and in time, she prayed to know if it were true. She received the spiritual confirmation and asked her friend to meet with the missionaries. She started attending our church and was baptized a short time later. 

I was really focused this week on studying and preparing to teach. I have determined to make my study times more revelatory. I want to make sure that I follow the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Ghost. As I've done so, I've seen so many blessings. My study of the missionary lessons actually coincides with my study of the Book of Mormon. I can pull out principles more often, and I can set goals on how I will apply these principles in my missionary work. I found that if you want revelation, ask for it. It really is that simple. The problem though, is that you really have to want an answer. There are many ways that revelation can come. It could come as you silently ponder, as you sit in sacrament meeting, as you read the scriptures, as you attend the temple, as you pray, and as you read conference messages. But if you do those things, revelation comes more easily. And when you act on it, it will help guide you through troubling times. 

In Elder's quorum, we studied the blessings of attending the temple, just like you. I remembered my experience of going to the temple for my first time. But it wasn't until after a couple more times that I started to receive greater inspiration. In Elder's quorum, I remembered how I felt after attending the temple. I was more at peace. I felt greater joy. It felt like my spiritual field of vision was widened. I don't know how else to explain it. Does it feel like that for you?

I hope all goes well.


Elder Herbert

Kent--July 13, 2105

Dear family,

I don't know why, but the people here love coming to church. Week after week, I see new faces in church. What a miracle! Sister “P” keeps on inviting people to sacrament meeting. This past week she invited a lady she just met at Fred Meyer named “T”, a good friend of hers named “T”, and a 21 year old Russian kid named “K” that was going around on a bike selling books. “T” came for sacrament meeting. “K” came at the very end, but said that he would try to make it out next week. Sister “P” probably has everyone in the city of Kent saved as a contact in her phone because she always gets their phone number. She told us she'll give “T” a call in a couple of days and see what happened. 

Also, a lady named “S” just showed up to church yesterday. She said that she lived right behind the church building and she wanted to check it out. She even came early and stayed for the full three hours. Sadly, she lives in the Clark Lake ward boundaries, but she is in good hands with the sister missionaries from that ward.

This is the first ward I've served in where people just show up for church. It's incredible. Even though we have these great miracles, it's still a struggle to find new investigators. This new transfer, I've decided to speak about the doctrine of Christ in every teaching opportunity I get. It will help me better focus on my missionary purpose- to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end. That's really the only thing that matters. Missionary work isn't about getting people to join the Church. It's about helping people experience true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That can only come as they exercise faith in Christ, repent of all their sins, get baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they must continue on that same path for the rest of their lives. We couldn't receive the blessings of the restored gospel without taking these steps. But because we did, we have an obligation to help others who haven't yet made these steps. 

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Lord is preparing the hearts of people in Kent, WA to receive the gospel message. I know that as you implement the first principles and ordinances of the gospel in your own lives, you will have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and you will be more like our Father in Heaven. 

I care for all of you. I can't wait to hear from you next week.


Elder Herbert

Friday, July 10, 2015

Kent--July 7, 2015

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for the love and support you give me. I love serving the Lord here in the state of Washington! I know that the Lord is preparing the hearts of the people here to accept the restored gospel and be baptized. Sometimes we get worried that people will think we are pushy or intolerant of others for saying that being baptized in this church is the only way to live in God's presence, but I know that it's true. It also doesn't really matter what other people think, but it only matters what God thinks. I know, and God knows that the only way to be saved in the Kingdom of God is to be baptized by one who holds the proper authority. Christ said in John 3:5, "Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." I'm so grateful that I was able to be baptized by priesthood authority. It can be hard to remain focused on the missionary purpose, when all the world around us is in so much darkness, but I know that it can be done. You just have to help people recognize that they need to have faith in Christ, repent of their sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.

This week, we had an African family come to church. (I'm just going to have to guess the spelling of their names). Their last name is “T” (silent h). They are from South Sudan. We have the father, “G”, the mother “N”, and their four sons “T”, “N”, “B”, and “L”.  “G”'s mother was there as well, but I forget her name. Unfortunately she doesn't speak any English. Everyone else does. We met the “T” family last week, but this time they stayed for sacrament meeting. I was able to sit next to “G” in sacrament meeting. He and his family are coming to the Elder's quorum barbecue this Saturday. This is the first time in my mission where I've been able to teach entire families. I can see the value in doing so. First, you are able to help more of God's children enter the waters of baptism. Second, they could eventually be sealed for eternity in the temple. Third, they can help strengthen one another in their resolve to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about it. One person learning the gospel by him or herself, versus a family of eight or nine learning the gospel together. I know that the family is ordained of God. It is the whole reason why God created the Earth in the first place. I'm so grateful for you and the knowledge that we can be together forever. 

We'll probably have another lesson with the “H” family this week. We haven't been able to see them in a long time. I have the feeling they are the hot/cold type of investigators. One week, they're super enthusiastic, and in a couple of weeks it dies down. It's alright. We have a lesson with Brother “S” tonight. Sister “P” invited him over to dinner on Sunday night as well. It's so cool to see members that reach out to our investigators. That's the epitome of missionary work- to reach out to strangers and welcome them into your heart and love them. Sister “P” is the BEST member missionary I've come across. When she doesn't know someone at church, she introduces herself. She always looks for opportunities to share the Book of Mormon and doesn't get discouraged when people don't accept it. The other day, she struck up a conversation with a gas station attendant and related his tattoo to a scripture she read in the New Testament. That speaks volumes. She also told us that every day she goes to bed early and gets up early so she can pray, ponder, meditate, and study the scriptures. That is what we should be doing every day. That is how you effectively share the gospel. Most people wait for missionary opportunities to fall in their lap, but Sister “P” prays for them and goes out of her way to find them.

We also visited a less active sister in the ward and gave her a blessing. I offered the blessing and I felt the spirit so strongly. I knew at that moment that God was working through me to bless her life. When men exercise the priesthood righteously, they can act in the name of God. I knew that I wasn't speaking, but the Lord was speaking through me. I thought about how I could let God's power work through me in other aspects of missionary work. In the blessing, the Lord promised this sister great blessings through daily scripture study and prayer. Afterward, I testified that the priesthood is a real power, and God uses it to bless the lives of all His children. I testified that I wasn't speaking at all, but it was the Lord speaking through me. 

I hope all of you are doing well and you have a great week!


Elder Herbert

Kent--June 29, 2015

Dear family,

This is actually a wonderful time to bring this up since you are all together having a reunion. I need some stories of my ancestors, both on my mom and dad's side. Could you send me stories of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents? I want to be able to show investigators my family history so I could get them excited about doing it. We recently had a training in our mission about the importance of family history in God's plan and how to use it in our finding efforts. It's one way that we can find those people who are prepared to receive the restored gospel. I just used it recently in our community service. We went to a food bank supply warehouse called Northwest Harvest. We get to go there every other week. I met a man named “L”. He started talking to me about his family. His great grandfather founded a church in Oregon! I asked him why his ancestors came over to the Northwest. He didn't know. I invited him to look up FamilySearch and he accepted a family history pass-along card! What a cool experience. 

We lost contact with “S B”. Therefore, she was unable to attend church this week. We tried calling the “H” family, but no one answered. They didn't show up for church. Brother “S” had some engine troubles, so he couldn't make it either. But we had a miracle happen. An African family of seven sat in the foyer of the church building in between the first and second hour of church. No one knew who they were! We introduced ourselves and asked where they were from. Right now, they are staying in a Howard Johnson hotel in Kent while they are searching for a home. They told us they speak a language called Nuer. Unfortunately there are no Book of Mormon translations in that particular language. But I think Elder Holden and I will begin teaching an English class. As for now, the mother and kids speak English well enough. We set up a lesson with them at the church building Thursday night at seven. Next time, the husband will be there, so there will be eight in total. 

The barbecue with the “P”s was wonderful. It was more like a block party! Sister “P” invited all of her neighbors. There were two couples. One couple had two teenage girls. “M” and her son came and so did the “T”s and the Ramsay's-- active members. It went well. We were unable to set up a time to teach “S” and “M”, but we'll follow up with Sister “P” later. It was super funny because yesterday it sprinkled a little bit on our picnic. It was the first time it rained in a couple of weeks! Very unusual for the Northwest.

I hope all is going well and you enjoy the reunion. Thanks for sending those pictures. It's great to see your faces. I love you all very much. Have a blessed week.


Elder Herbert