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. 


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! ;)


Elder Herbert

Monday, September 14, 2015

Auburn-September 14, 2015

Dear family,

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.


Elder Herbert

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Auburn--September 8, 2015

Dear family,

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. 

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.


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