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. 


Elder Herbert

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kent--August 18, 2015

Dear family,

Today is transfers!!!!!! I got transferred to the Lake Holm ward in the Auburn stake. I'm so excited to serve there. I'm getting a new companion that speaks Chinese. His name is Elder Jiao. I'm really excited. I can't wait to tell you all the fun experiences I'll have. Sister “P” took some pictures that I'm sending with this e-mail. Because it was my last day in the ward, yesterday she bought me a coconut cream pie! It was delicious.  

I have learned so much in these last two transfers. I can honestly say that the experiences I had, both good and bad have shaped me into a better missionary and servant of the Lord. I feel like I am becoming more capable of loving unlovable people. I look to the example of our Savior who showed charity to every soul. I feel more of a drive to serve God at times when it's the hardest. The only thing I can do to find the desire is to love these people with all my heart. I have already started praying for Christ-like love for all the people in my new area, members and non-members alike. 

I received a letter from Sister "L S" the same time you all sent me birthday cards (thank you for that by the way). Her story touched me. It came at precisely the time I needed it. She told me of her mother's conversion and the difficulties her daughter had on her mission. I will be forever grateful. I want to let you know that I keep all of your letters in a shoe box. I have to buy stamps so I can write back! 

I care for you and wish you the best.


Elder Herbert

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kent--August 10, 2015

Dear family,

Thank you so much for sending me the birthday package. I especially love the tie you sent and the tie pin. I hope you got the pictures that "S P" sent you. We had dinner at their house on my birthday last night. She made lemon meringue pie. She told us that she's never made it before. She had to start over twice, so dinner wasn't ready for an hour later! Oh well. It was good pie. I hope you and Sister "P" start up a good friendship mom. She's an incredible woman. She owns a yoga studio, and she has two twin boys with autism. She had them later in life. Her husband is not a member. She's incredibly gifted at sharing the gospel, and she has opportunities at least once a day. I keep asking myself how she does it, but all she has to do is be prepared with a Book of Mormon, really desire for it to happen, and be super friendly with everyone. It helps that she's outgoing. She just strikes up conversations with everyone she meets. You have her number now. Keep texting her. She's awesome.

Elder Herbert's 20th Birthday!

This next week is transfers. I might be leaving to a new area, but I'll let you know what happens. Brother "S" came to gospel principles class for the first time. The lesson was on family responsibilities. It was great. He already knew half of the people in that class. He also got a chance to clean the chapel on Saturday. I'm glad that he's getting so involved with the ward. He can't work because he's going on disability. Sister "P" suggested that we get him to volunteer at the Bishop's Storehouse. We might take her up on that idea.

Keep praying for our investigators. I love you all so much. Thank you for your support.


Elder Herbert

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kent--August 3, 2015

Dear family,

This week was same old, same old. We're kind of in a stalemate when it comes to missionary work. I don't know what to do differently, but we aren't teaching many people, we aren't finding many people, and nobody wants to talk to us... Every time we try to transition to the gospel, the conversation ends. Anyways, I still feel really discouraged. Like I said before, this is the most trying time in my mission. I feel like every day is a warzone. I don't know what to do. I am definitely going to pray more fervently and more often. No matter what happens, I have a testimony that prayer works, and that God cares about us and our situations. Everything will work out though. If we didn't have trials, we wouldn't know joy. 

The ward members also have a big influence on your perspective of missionary work. My favorite member so far is Sister “P”. Hands down. She has more missionary experiences every week than we do. She had a garage sale and handed out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon. She's so cool. No one else in our ward is as fired up about missionary work as she is. She told me that she had a period in her life where missionary work was really discouraging. She said everyone she tried to share the gospel with was not receptive and thought she was weird. She said it's a miracle that everywhere she goes, she finds people that want to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. She's brought several people to church on her own. That just shows how the darkness comes right before the dawn. I feel the same. I have a feeling this discouraging time on my mission will go away eventually.

There was also a young adult convert of about 3 years that got up in testimony meeting and told us of a cool missionary experience that he had. He is a security guard for Microsoft. He had the opportunity to talk to his coworker for about an hour one day about the church and shared passages from the Book of Mormon on his phone. He invited him to read the Book of Mormon and he accepted it! Since his parents aren't members, he told us he's bringing his mom to our ward BBQ on Saturday and he's probably going to invite us over for dinner to meet her!

So in answer to your question mom, I will try my best to not spend as much on my debit card. Today, I have to pay for the bike shop to replace my brake pads and adjust the brakes. When we go out to eat or get drinks at the gas station, I try to use the money from my mission fund card.  We shop at a place called Grocery Outlet, which is a bargain market, and we only go out to eat for lunch on P-Day. I will put the money you gave me to good use. I have to write a card to you, and grandma and grandpa.

I love you all so much!


Elder Herbert