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!

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!


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.


Elder Herbert