Monday, December 16, 2013

Anna Herring
1:28 PM (3 hours ago)

December 16, 2013
Dear beautiful and amazing family and friends,

First of all, Happy Birthday my beautiful and fantastic mother! I love you!

Next, thank you for all the packages and letters! It is one of my favorite activities on the mission to come home after a long day of work and to see the box sitting outside our door. Ooh! It is like Christmas just seeing the box! :)

Before I begin the week, I have to tell you the best thing! So, while I was in Back Creek, there was one holler (a really small back road) that I really wanted to go down from the first time we drove by. I put it off and put it off because it was never scheduled until I went on an exchange during one of the last weeks I was there. On this road, there was about 3 houses and the first house we stopped at, I gave a girl that had gauged ears a Book of Mormon. I knew she wanted to learn more, but her mom said, "no". I told Sister Nisse that she needed to go back in a couple weeks to follow up and see if she was interested in learning more. Well, a few weeks ago, she went back! The girl's name is Holly and they taught her the Restoration and then the YSA elders began teaching her. She is going to be baptized on January 4th! Can you believe it?! I started crying when I found out. Sometimes we never know what is going to happen because of a simple testimony, example, or moment. I'm so excited for her and what the future holds for her! Share the gospel! It truly changes lives.

:) Monday night we were in our apartment when we heard a knock on the door. Our neighbor from upstairs, Jolene, had come to introduce herself and to thank us for the cookies. We then got to talking to her and she asked us about the Word of Wisdom, well, long story short, we ended up going up to her apartment and taught her the restoration along with the Word of Wisdom. She goes to a non-denominational church, has many good questions, and we are excited to teach her more. She has lived above the missionaries for about 5 years and has never been taught! We invited her to church on Sunday and she said she would go in 2 weeks because she was going to be out of town. She said she would love to come! She is a sweetheart and the next day we came home with 2 brand new scarves tied to our door! She bought us Christmas presents! So nice! We are excited to see what will happen.

Tuesday was a slower day, but we were able to visit a nice older lady named Nancy Fox. She is hilarious and we are going to start teaching her "practice lessons" and help her learn more along the way. Her husband had been meeting with the missionaries and she loves them, but is not really looking for truth. We hope that as we teach her, something will be said that the spirit can testify to her is truth and she will know that all she has learned is true. She is such a sweet lady. We then ended the night at the R.S. activity where we had an ornament exchange. It was awesome! We had made sister missionaries ornaments for the exchange which were a huge hit! Sister Kitto ended up with a pink sparkly deer mount, and another ornament of a gun that had the saying, "Born to Hunt" on it. So funny! I got a chicken holding onto a wreath. We both had to have those ones so that we could remember West Virginia. It truly is a world of its own. :) I love it though!

Wednesday we went to teach a less-active family and also had a great lesson with a family in the ward. We ended up singing them a song that Sister Kitto's sister made up on her mission. It is to the tune of "Part of Your World" from Little Mermaid, but is "Missionary World" instead. It is hilarious!

Thursday.....wonderful Thursday....one of our investigators needed help cleaning her house. Let me describe the situation for you. She is a bit of a hoarder, has 4 cats, and hasn't really been able to clean her house because she was in a car accident. When we got there she said, "Okay, one of you can vacuum and the other gets to clean the bathroom!" I know that Sister Kitto is very sensitive to smells, so I volunteered to do the bathroom...I must really love her! haha I walked in and this bathroom happened to also be the cats' bathroom. There were 4 boxes of used kitty litter, no ventilation, and I don't think it had been cleaned in over 2 years. The sink had white streaks in the brown layers which helped me know it was originally white and that is as far as I will go with the detail. After 2 hours, I had done the sink, toilet, shelf, and floor. I hadn't gotten to the bathtub, but she said it wasn't needed because that is where their storage was. They used the other bathroom for the shower. Phew! We had to leave for another appointment, but as we were leaving, Sister Kitto said, "You've earned your exaltation." haha Thank you mom for helping me learn how to clean the bathroom really well! :) You probably didn't realize you were preparing me for a mission! The house we went to next had 15 cats, but you wouldn't know it! It was a trailer in another holler, but it was spotless! I walked in and saw 4 cats and thought, wow, pretty clean for 4 cats, but then he told us they actually had 15! Huge surprise! I think I'm done with cats for a while :). Mike, I will never have another Josie again! hahaha

Friday, we had a district meeting where we discussed the needs of our investigators and got ideas of how to help each of them. We then went to DQ for lunch and I got to talk to 2 really nice guys. I gave them a pass-along card and hope they will call the elders! Again, you never know what will help someone come to have the desire to learn more about the gospel. Every good interaction and experience with the church is one step closer for that person to come to a knowledge of the truth. We then went to see Lisa and she told us, "I am giving up smoking, cold turkey." We had watched the Restoration DVD and she said that she now saw the big picture. I thought back to when I was at Bridget's house watching the Restoration DVD with Sydney and those missionaries. I was now the missionary! It was such a neat moment and the spirit was so strong. Lisa is truly being taught by the spirit. Every time we teach something, she does more than we ask. She wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday because of a few anxieties, but she has promised to come this next Sunday and we know she will. Once she says she will do something, she does it. She hasn't smoked in 3 days! We are so proud of her! We then had dinner at the lady's house that we had cleaned and she gave me an incense burner and a whole bunch of incense....hmm...very thoughtful!

Saturday we went to correlation and the zone leaders told us that some of the sisters in one area were struggling...what do we do?! We blitz the area! Sister Kitto and I drove there for about 3 hours that day and went to work! We gave out 1 Book of Mormon and found them 2 potential investigators! It wasn't very much time, but we hope it was enough to get them excited and faith-filled! :) We then hurried back to a lesson at the house with the 15 cats and we taught the restoration. This house has a man who is a "member", but his wife is not. He hasn't been in the church for a long time, so has a few skewed views...but his wife is very interested in learning more. We hope she doesn't judge the church from what her husband has taught her. We hope to get them both to come back to church and to truly understand the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ. We then had a lesson fall through with Lisa and so we did some training to end the night. We were a bit worried about Lisa, but we always remember that our investigators have their agency. We can only pray for them and teach them as best we can. They have to do their part as well.

Sunday we got a call that Lisa wasn't going to make it. She had let her fears keep her from coming and even after talking to her and comforting her, she didn't have gas in her car and had a number of excuses. We cleared each one up, but it all boiled down to her desire and commitment. She committed to coming to church next week and we again know she will. We are going to do all we can to get her there, but we know church is where she wants to be. I have full faith that she will be baptized in the next month. She's already given up smoking...church is a cinch after that! :)

Church was wonderful! We got to help with the YW lesson, we watched Joy to the World in Gospel Principles and had 3 deaf people who were not members come to the class. It was amazing to feel the spirit as we read the subtitles and saw their excitement as they clapped their hands. We have so much to be grateful for this holiday season! I was able to sit there and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a warm peaceful church building. I could watch the video and feel the spirit even more in my life. We are so blessed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost given to us after baptism to be our constant companion. While I saw them clapping, I thought of the scriptures in Mosiah 18 when the people have the desire to be baptized and they feel such joy that they clap their hands! If people understood how peaceful and happy the gospel message is, they would all be clapping their hands and desiring to be baptized! It is up to us to help them see that there is more to this life and that a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ is what they have been searching for! We ended the night at Sister Johnson's house (the Relief Society president) and had pizza and pasta. It was delicious!

Well, that was this week! Wonderful, exciting, challenging, and fantastic! I love being a missionary and I love this gospel! I love seeing the light come into peoples' eyes when they begin to understand how this will bless their lives and all that our Savior Jesus Christ did for us. It is also wonderful to see those who have lost that light begin to see it return. No one is ever too far gone to not be able to return to the gospel. Repentance is real, the atonement is available for each and every person. The best gift of Christmas is what our Heavenly Father gave to us when he sent His son to this Earth. We will each have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father as eternal families! Conversion is not a one time event! Continue studying, continue praying, continue enduring to the end! The gospel is true! Exclamation point! ;) I love you all! Have the most wonderful week!

Love,
Sister Herring

P.S. Sorry no pictures this week, I forgot the camera adapter. Also, we get to skype home for Christmas! It would be awesome if someone tech-savvy in our family could set it up to where I could see the family! ;) *cough *cough Matt hahaha I will hopefully have more information for you next week, but if any of you have information let me know! Maybe similar to what Kortlynn did when she opened her mission call. Can't wait! I love you awesome people! Oh and funny story, during training one night, we decided to do the reading part as different apostles and prophets. It was a blast trying to emulate President Monson's voice. :) I have a great companion!

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