Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!
2 messages

Anna Herring <anna.herring@myldsmail.net>Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM
To: Carol Herring <ocherring70@gmail.com>, Erin Gale <erin.gale@myldsmail.net>
Merry Christmas Family and Friends! (To the phrase of Merry Christmas Bedford Falls!) ;)

This has been one exciting and great week! I don't know if I've said this before but, I love being a missionary! haha I can't wait to talk to each of you on Christmas! It will be the best gift I could get!

Monday night we went to eat dinner with the sweet Cotrell family. They are amazing examples of member missionaries and I'm sure grateful for all they do. They are one of the families who will be feeding us on Christmas (we have 3 appointments!). Funny story about that dinner appointment was when the youngest Cotrell, Kaylee, said, "Every night, well almost every night, I put chapstick on and kiss my picture of Niall (from One Direction)." hahaha We all burst out laughing and she just smiled and was so proud of that statement. They truly make me feel like I'm home. It is so perfect that I will get to see my family while I'm in a home that feel likes home.

Tuesday, I drove to Teays Valley to do an exchange with those sisters. They have had a few struggles finding people to teach and with the work. Sister Kitto took one of the sisters back to South Hills and we got to work! They had planned a full day of visiting less-actives which is a good thing to do, but there are much better ways to use your time in West Virginia. The sister I was with hates tracting or even talking to people she is unfamiliar with and I think this is why she plans safe things to do. It can be a little frightening contacting people who might not be very receptive, but just like life, sometimes the biggest risks yield the biggest rewards! You just have to forth with faith and Heavenly Father will support you! We were on a street contacting a less-active when we saw this guy smoking on his porch. I leaned over and said, "Let's go!" We got out of the car and asked the guy if he knew where this less-active lived. (We totally knew, but it was a good conversation starter.) We then got to talking about who we were and why we were here. He hadn't heard much about the church, but I have found a secret tool to missionary work. Are you ready for this? Okay, one of the secrets to missionary work is to start testifying as soon as possible! I started sharing about how we have a prophet upon the Earth today and we have evidence of this in the Book of Mormon and that I personally knew that this was all true and how it has changed my life and he reached out and asked for a copy! He said he was going to read it and they are going to come back and ask him what he thought and hopefully teach him! We told him that he needed to pray about what he read and that God would answer him. I love testifying of truth because that is when the spirit goes to work and does the actual teaching. The first time I did it, I was a bit awkward, but welcome to being a missionary. Missionary is code for awkward! You just have to embrace it! It was an amazing experience though and he ended up being a great learning opportunity for both of us. We also got to stop by an Amish store during dinner and talked to the lady behind the counter who ended up being interested in learning more as well! Fun day!

Wednesday I came back to my area and Sister Kitto had great things to report! They had had a fantastic day full of teaching, and working hard! I love coming back to news like that! We then went to work and ended up having a rather slow day. We got our car super clean during lunch (we had to have our car inspected at Specialized training the next day). We also got to eat dinner with the Thorpe family. Again, slower day, but still great!

Thursday we drove to our church building in Sissonville and got ready for specialized training! It was amazing! We were able to learn more about covenants and keeping all of our lessons centered on Christ. We then had a musical section where Sister Kitto, Elder Williams, Elder Criddle, and I sang "Away in a Manger' it turned out great considering we had 5 minutes to practice. We also added a verse at the end that said, "Bless all they dear servants to go forth and share." It was a great opportunity. I then got to play the piano for the whole zone to sing "Angels We Have Heard on High". I'm so grateful for you mom. Thank you for making sure I learned how to play the piano. That is one of the biggest blessings! I've used it so much on the mission and throughout my life so far! The meeting was amazing and definitely put us in the Christmas spirit.

Friday we had a great day! Fantastic Friday! We got to do our weekly planning for a bit, then we went to lunch with Nancy Fox. She is one of favorite women in Charleston. We taught her the restoration as a practice lesson, but the spirit was so strong and she said she is so excited to read the Book of Mormon. She told us that we were going to help her get through the holidays since her husband passed away. She is just an amazing woman. We then went and did some service again at the house we did last week. This time we did the kitchen though and as we were cleaning the cat stuff, dust, and other gross things off the counters and floor it hit us that we'd eaten 2 dinners that had been made in this kitchen...disgusting! Good news! We are still alive! the neatest part though, was as we were cleaning. The woman told us that she had given up coffee since we last talked to her. We hadn't even told her she needed to. The last time we were there we had simply talked about the Word of Wisdom and she had done this all on her own!!! I love it! We then went to go see a lady in the Assisted Living center that we were possibly going to teach and she ended up giving us these amazing puzzles that were of "Gone with the Wind"! So cool! She invited us back to see her today, so we are going to go see her at 6. She then told us to go see this couple that she thought was Mormon. It turns out they were Jehovah Witnesses so we are going to have to go clear up her misconception. ;) Best part! Sister Kitto offered to sing a Christmas carol to the Jehovah Witnesses...I tried to stop her but as you know, they don't celebrate any holidays and so it turned out to be a super funny experience. We then went to go and do some tracting for 30 minutes before dinner and we ended up meeting 2 people who were interested in learning more about the gospel! We are going to go back and teach them this week. It was an amazing 30 minutes. (Again, testify from the start!) After dinner, we went to see Lisa and she gave us both these beautiful bracelets and she gave Sister Kitto a turquoise necklace and me some adorable floral rain boots! Holy cow! I'm so excited to wear those! She is a sweetheart!

Saturday morning Lisa came with us to the parade. Santa flew in and it was an awesome experience! Kind of a lame parade, but it was fun to pass out pass-along cards and to sing Christmas carols. Sister Kitto rode in the float with Lisa and I walked with the other 5 elders passing out cards. It was a blast! We then went and tracted for a bit and talked to some really nice people before heading to see some less-actives and then we ended up talking to a lady in the house near our apartment building and she accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she would like to learn more! She is a cute little mother and hasn't been to any church for a long time because she hasn't had great experiences in the past. It was another great day!

Sunday we got a terrible phone call from Lisa saying that she wasn't ready to go to church yet. We talked to her for a bit about her concerns and were able to work them out. We ended up having her drive us to the church! It was a miracle! We gave her a church tour and everyone was so welcoming! The spirit was so strong and it ended up perfect! We only had sacrament because the stake had planned a devotional at 3. All the missionaries in the stake got to sing during the devotional and there ended up being about 40! It was a great experience to be a part of. The stake then put together gifts for each of the missionaries. We got some cute scarves, gloves, trail mix, bracelets, and other goodies. It was so sweet of them! We then went to the Dorseys and ended up Angela. She has met with the missionaries for 15 years and the mission president told us that the missionaries have been using her as a crutch for too long. It is now her time to show forth her faith and to do something with all the knowledge she has. Her husband is a member and they come to church every Sunday, but they aren't progressing beyond that. We had an amazing lesson where the spirit was felt by each person and then we told them that when she is ready to progress, to give us a call, but at this time we didn't feel like we could help her until she had the desire. It was an amazing experience, but sometimes the miracle comes after you drop someone. We will see what happens!

That was our week! Some super amazing moments! Miracles each day! I love being a missionary especially during the holidays! :) I finished the Book of Mormon again this week and once again I was reaffirmed that it is truly the Word of God and testifies of our Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the scriptures and for the opportunity that I have to share my testimony with each person I meet. I love the people and even though there are rough days, it is something that is worth every minute! I love this gospel!

Oh! Fun news! Elder S. Gifford Nielsen (The exclamation point guy from conference) is coming to our mission in January! Isn't that exciting?! It is a huge surprise and I'm so excited to have him come! He is a favorite among the missionaries and we are looking forward to all we will learn from him!

I hope you all have the most wonderful day! The Whitest and Merriest Christmas! and the Most fantastic New year! :) The gospel is true! Reach out to at least one person and testify of what you know! Heavenly Father will help you!

I love you all!

Love,
Sister Herring



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