Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hey you good-looking people!

Well, I guess this is my last email from the mission...When did that happen?! I swear I was just in the MTC. But then as I reflect over the last few months, it makes me realize that I have been gone for a wee bit of time! Wow! What a wonderful time it has been! West Virginia is truly Wild and Wonderful! :) I can't wait to tell you all the stories, testimonies, and experiences that have shaped my life. I'm so grateful for each trial, challenge, and growing experience. I know this gospel is true more now than ever! And I plan to continue to strengthen that testimony each day! I love this gospel. I love this work. I love the people in this mission and many in Arizona! :) That is the only thing making this transition easier, because I get to see each of you!!! I wish I could bring each of you back with me and just continue working, but I know that is not realistic, so I'm going to bring the missionary work with me! It is going to be wonderful!

I know I'll be seeing you in like 2 days, but I still am going to give a re-cap of this last week and a half. :) 

Monday after emailing we went and had a Turkey Bowl with the zone and I even scored a touchdown! Woohoo! My companion though took a bad fall when her knee moved the wrong direction. We were thinking it was her ACL so we went to the hospital and they diagnosed it as a knee sprain. She is a trooper! 

On Tuesday I went to my last MLC and it was wonderful! The assistants had me play the piano for old times sake. :) haha They called it the Sister Herring show because I also had to bare my testimony last. It was so strange to be the one giving the departing testimony. I actually did okay controlling my emotions too! Heavenly Father has helped with that. I don't know if you've heard about "He is the Gift" but if you haven't you need to watch the video and share it! It softens hearts and brings the spirit to each person! 

Wednesday we drove to Lynchburg for a zone meeting there. We were able to teach a few portions and it turned out great! Oh P.S. It was a blizzard on the way there. We walked out of our apartment and were so confused to see huge flakes of snow. Luckily I've become an excellent driver while serving in this mission and it was fine! haha We then drove back and went to work! 

Thursday was Thanksgiving. We woke up and went to help at a Turkey Trot, passing out hot chocolate and pass-along cards. :) It was cold but fun! We then went to breakfast at Sister Christy's house. Next we went and had snacks at the Hughes home and that was a blast! They are my family away from my family. I love them! We then drove with Sister Pam Parks to the Pearts mansion for Thanksgiving dinner. Their home is 4 stories and gorgeous! Brother Peart says that "X-box built it." haha He was the head engineer for X-Box I. Whatever that is haha I guess it came out while I was on the mission. It was neat though because with all the food we showed the "He is the Gift" video to each family and each time the spirit entered the room and there was peace! Tons of children and peace! It was amazing! :) I love the video and hope each of you love it as much as I do! Wow! 

Friday we had another zone meeting with the Buena Vista zone and once again we taught a small portion and it was fun to learn the information again! I love being able to serve missionaries and investigators. After the meeting we went to work!

Saturday we went and did some service at Ladles and Linens. It is a cute Christmas store and we were to wrap presents for charity, but then nobody showed up, so we ended up just having a good conversation with the people who worked there. We then met the Rockbridge sisters at Kenney's and did a mini-exchange. I went to work with Sister Nielsen (who is coming home with me). Both of our companions are injured so we let them rest and we went to work. We went and decorated a Christmas tree for one woman and then went and visited people throughout the day! It was a blast! 

Sunday, Bishop cried over the pulpit about me was a bit embarrassing. But I will miss this ward! They are wonderful! Oh and a poor baby threw up all over the place during the combined meeting which was hilarious! But so sad! :) The Reynolds fed us lunch and it was so nice of them! We then went and worked a bit.

Monday: We had a final district meeting then went to lunch with the elders at this Mexican restaurant. The rest of the day was saying goodbyes and teaching lessons.

Tuesday: We were able to see the Campbells, and Randy gave us our Christmas presents. He is such a funny man! Oh and I told him I would call him when I made it safely. He is worried. haha He and Brother Bria both cried when talking about leaving. They are so cute! I again love this area and will miss it!

Sorry this is kind of brief, my companion is needing the computer and I figure, I'll be seeing you soon!

Remember that I love you so much! I have a firm testimony that this gospel is true. I love it! And I can't wait to continue sharing it throughout my life! 

See you Friday!

Sister Herring

Mexican food!
Willie and Karen Campbell!!!

Randy gave us presents! 

I'll save the rest of the pictures for Friday! :)

I decorated this woman's tree. Here is the proof! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Birthday cake!

Walking down Possum Hollow (pronounced Holler)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hello you beautiful family!

Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do! This week has been exciting! I'm starting to take more pictures to make sure I don't miss a moment! 

Monday after writing we went and got to take pictures in the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery. That was exciting. It was freezing! We then ended the day by going to visit a lady named, Tina Beam. She is a bit crazy, but is searching for truth. She knows a lot about the church, but it wasn't to become ordained a Baptist Preacher. We got to know her and she had some great questions. The good thing I've learned is that when people have questions (that they are trying to bash with,) you simply need to know and testify of the restoration of the gospel. Do you know the Book of Mormon is true? Then this is Christ's church! It is very simple! The Book of Mormon is truly the keystone of our religion. I know without a doubt that it is! I know that Joseph Smith translated it by the Power of God! I know that the gospel has been restored in its fullness! Yay! I love the gospel! :)

Tuesday: We had a great district meeting where we learned about recognizing the spirit then we went on an exchange with Sister Packard and Lopp. Sister Packard came to Lexington with me. :) We got to work visiting people and she is a very bold missionary! We were able to visit a less-active family but then we went to teach Linda and Sister Packard committed her to give up coffee. Holy cow it was an intense but amazing lesson! I loved every minute! We were able to meet a nice man named Michael who was standing outside (rare with how cold it is). He told us to come back! We then had a quick dinner before the call-in conference with President Salisbury. It was a good thing for Sister Packard to be a part of. You always learn so much!

Wednesday: We drove to Lynchburg to exchange back and went to lunch at Chick-Fil-A with all the sisters. It was wonderful! It was also Sister Tobler's 20th birthday! Woohoo! We got the man that worked there to give her flowers! Just by telling him it was her birthday! So nice! I love Chick-Fil-A! We then did a mini-exchange with Sisters Sullivan and Freeland. They have had some interesting things happen so we needed to figure out how to help. Sister Freeland is such a sweetheart! I was glad to go and work with her for a bit. We then drove home and were able to have dinner with the Clubbs. They made Sister Tobler a scavenger hunt for her birthday using scriptures which finally led her to her birthday cake! It was the cutest idea ever! I'm totally doing it for missionary birthdays in the future! We then drove to the church and had a quick lesson with Mary before the church tour. Nobody came sadly, so Brother Hughes did my final interview. He posts it a private Facebook group for me to see when I get home. He is awesome! 

Thursday: We did weekly planning which was epic...We had a great discussion and I had a mini- realization that my mission is ending soon and it was awful! I'm excited to see my family,but I'm really not ready to end my mission. Yikes! I've never felt so many emotions in my life! We then had a cleaning inspection with the senior couple in the area and we passed! haha We weren't worried. :) After the cleaning check we went to contact a referral and we met a nice man named Patrick who told us to come teach him and we are going to begin teaching a family with 4 daughters! So fun! We are excited! We then met with Pattie before heading to dinner. We then had to end the night working on some things for the sisters.

Friday: time! One of my favorite things! If you haven't seen the video of the "Glorious" song on do it! It is amazing! I watched it 4 times! :) We then had a quick lunch before heading over to check on Randy. He'd been sick all week! We then decided that we didn't need to be in Glasgow so we went walking near Lexington and stopped at a Part-Member family's home and they welcomed us in! So exciting! We then went to correlation and had pancakes before heading to help clean up an Orchestra concert at the church where we met a lady named Lisa Clark, who might have us over for Thanksgiving! She loves Mormons and someday will be one! :) We then ended the night at Mae's house and had a great conversation with her! It was a great day!

Saturday: We went to the food pantry for service, but then they realized that was my last time, so Bob, Ellie, and Bob's wife took us out to a fancy restaurant called, "The Livery" for lunch. I got an all vegetable sandwich! Can you believe it mom?! I about died, but it was wonderful! So good! We then went and visited a few people before eating dinner at the Hingsons. They are an extremely wealthy family in the ward whose daughter went to BYU at 14. So cool! The mom is deaf, but that doesn't stop her from anything! They are truly amazing! We then were driving back from Glasgow when I ran over a possum!!! I went my entire mission without running anything over and my last bit I ran over a possum! Yuck! I screamed the whole time (just like that one time, Mom) and then we laughed hysterically. Fun times!

Sunday: Randy, although sick, came and was confirmed! What was neat was Elizabeth came too! She had just gotten off work and was not feeling well, but she came! I love her! She is so awesome! It was Ward conference so it was an especially neat Sunday and the spirit was so strong! After church they had a linger longer which was fun and then we went and visited a few people. We were able to see Pattie and bring Elizabeth some funeral potatoes (her new favorite food). For dinner we ate at Sister Arogyasami's and then ended the day with a nice walk in the rain. It was such a great week! 

Today we will be having a Turkey Bowl with the zone and on Thanksgiving we will be having 3 meals. Yikes! One of the meals, though will be at the head engineer's for X-Box home! We are so excited! This ward is so diverse. We have people who can't read all the way to people who are the New York Times best-sellers! I love it! So many different lives all touched and governed by the same gospel of Jesus Christ! There truly is a place for everyone in this church! 

Tomorrow I get to drive to Charleston for my last MLC (mission leader council) and then Wednesday and Friday are zone meetings. Fun times! This week is packed, but I look forward to every minute of it!

Well, I'd better get going, but remember next week is transfers (I wonder where I'll be going! :)), so I won't be emailing until Wednesday. Jared! Happy Birthday! Thanks for being one of the best brothers-in-law in the world! Rindy and Lane! Happy Anniversary!!! Hope it is wonderful! Keep on being amazing and know that I love each of you! The gospel is true! Share is with everyone! Thank you for all your love and support daily! I truly feel the strength that comes from each prayer! 

I love you!

Sister Herring

Amazing picture haha

Monday, November 17, 2014

Brother Hughes did the baptism!
Elizabeth wanted a picture! :) 

Hello my wonderful family!

What a great day to be a missionary! The clouds have arrived, the air is cool, and boots have become my favorite thing to wear! :) It has definitely begun to feel like winter, but I'm loving every minute of it! Because with the cold comes the holidays! People are so much nicer and open to learning during the holidays! :) It is the best time to be a missionary! :) We already get to talk about the gospel all day, but then those that were closed off before become more open when they realize we celebrate this time of year too! No more confusing us for Jehovah Witnesses! :) 

It is beginning to hit me how little time I have left, but don't worry that isn't affecting me work ethic. This area is amazing and so many miracles are happening daily! Just barely as I was beginning the letter home, the lady next to me told me I sounded like I was writing a masterpiece and I told her it was a letter home. That then opened up the door to who I am and my purpose. I was able to invite her to the family history center and who knows what will come from that! Miracles are everywhere! :) 

This week has flown by and it concluded with a beautiful baptismal service for Randy Floyde Hannah Sr. :) It was amazing! But maybe I should start with Monday, right? ;)

Monday night we were able to go to the Hall's for dinner (Brother Hughes has gotten us a meal appointment every day!). While we were there we were able to teach Meme and Bella about Patriarchal Blessings! It was wonderful! I love the Halls and Meme and Bella! They are the first people I met here and some of my favorites!

On Tuesday we were able to see Pattie for a bit then we went and taught Randy with Brother Anderson and Randy was a changed man. His countenance has truly changed over the course of the time we've been meeting. He has a glow now! We then drove the Bria's for dinner and had a great time with them before heading over to the Cowboy church for Bible Study. Imagine this...7 people watching a "Duck Dynasty" version of a Bible Study. Apparently one of their congregation members owns 5 episodes of a Bible Study. We walked in and immediately realized this was their version of a Bible Study and luckily were able to have a great discussion after awkwardly trying to avoid the show about Prayer. The preacher loves us! haha They invited us back for next week and next week we will be inviting them to our church tour. They have become friends and if you are wondering what my mission is like, you can watch Duck Dynasty. That TV show is the West Virginia Charleston Mission, from the clips I heard. haha Such a funny situation! We then drove home and had a conference call with the leadership of the mission which President Salisbury is trying to make a weekly thing.

Wednesday: We did some time before heading to Brother Peter's for lunch. He is the cutest little African American man with great style! Holy cow that man can dress! He is always in 3-piece suits and has the best ties (which he gives to missionaries) Next time we go, I'm getting a picture with him! We then went and met with James. He is awesome! Definitely searching for truth and needs it desperately! When he gets out of jail, he will know where to look! WE then saw Mindy for a brief second who is just a friend for now, but then we went to the Campbells for dinner (biscuits and beef). We did some service for them and Willie told me that I had a special place in his heart. :) He is one of my favorite Virginians. I just wish he would come to church! We then met with Mary for a brief minute before the church tour. Gloria even came! She loved it! Hopefully this inspire a desire within her to continue acting and come to church! 

Thursday: We did some weekly planning, had lunch with the Hughes, and then saw Randy again! He was still doing amazing! He told me he's going to buy me an army jacket to remember him for Christmas. haha (Because he was in the army.) haha Funny man! We then tried to see a few people before heading over to see a less-active and while we were there, we ran into Brother Bria and woman named Tina! She invited us to come teach her and we then knew why all the previous appointments had fallen through. :) We then drove to Buena Vista for interviews and Stake Correlation. Both were wonderful! Sister Salisbury won't be at transfers because her daughter is getting married so we took farewell pictures. It was so sad! But thank goodness President will be there! We then drove to dinner with Amber Clark and Gabby. :) We ended the night practicing a song for Randy's baptism at Bishop's house before talking to Randy about his baptism. He had a few concerns which we were able to resolve. 

Friday: Exchanges! We went to a great district meeting about recognizing the spirit, then we drove to Buena Vista for an exchange. Every time I go there I think of Candace Patterson going to SVU and it makes me so happy! I know Kadee Avila is going there and I hoped to see her, but it didn't happen. :) Small world! I stayed in Buena Vista with Sister Williams and it was wonderful! We were able to see a lady named Susan and have a great discussion with her. It helped me realize how much I love the Book of Mormon! We then tried to see a few people before heading to dinner with Sister Hans. We ended the night playing basketball with some members which of course, I was terrible at, but I tried! There's a reason I was a cheerleader. :)

Saturday: We saw a lady named Bernice who has family who are Herring's and then exchanged back. Oddly enough when we exchanged back, the other sisters weren't there, but one of our investigators was at the church. So we gave her a church tour, then taught her the plan of salvation, and invited her to baptized on December 21st, which she was so excited for! She is awesome! She says she feels she belongs in this church. She does!!! We then had a quick lunch before heading to Randy's to invite him to the Elder's baptism on Saturday night. He agreed to come and then we hurried to dinner at the Kohls. They had a great roast beef dinner (I've had that 4 times this week :) not complaining, just laughing) and it was all delicious! We then hurried to the baptism in Buena Vista and Randy loved it! It calmed his nerves. He then passed his interview which took a load of stress off our backs and we headed home!

Sunday: Church was wonderful! Elizabeth came and the lesson in Sunday School was on baptism! How appropriate! :) We then prepared for Randy's big event after church and Elizabeth kept on talking about her baptism and how excited she was! Yay! It is going to happen! Randy's baptism worked out great! The pianist fell through, so I played, but other than that, it went off perfect! Even our duet turned out! The spirit was felt by each person there and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it! After the baptism we were able to go to dinner with Sister Kraut and Sister Parks. They are both converts and amazing! We then called and welcomed a new sister coming to the mission, a Sister Sorensen, and then headed to the Faulkner's and ended the night at Linda's. It ended up a being a fantastic week! I love being a missionary!

As you can see the work is truly being hastened! Great things are happening and each of us, full-time missionary or not, gets to be a part of it! Each of has an important part in the work of salvation! Whatever you can do right now, whether it be family history, inviting friends to activities, or feeding the missionaries, do it! You will see miracles! I promise you! Read the Book of Mormon! It is truly the book that will bring us closest to our Heavenly Father and our Savior! I love it!

I hope each of you have the best week ever! Remember someone in Virginia loves you! :)

Sister Herring

President and Sister Salisbury (It was cold!)
Randy's Baptism!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello my amazing family!

How are you?! I loved reading each email about Kortlynn's homecoming and how exciting all of that was! What a blessing to have her home! Kortlynn you are such a great example to me! So are you Rex and Chandon! I am always bragging to other missionaries and people of my niece and nephews who are serving missions. After the surprise leaves their face, they are just amazed! It truly is amazing! I love my family!

This week has been a long one! Holy moly! 

We started on Monday by meeting with Randy and the Brias. He was beating himself up for drinking and not being able to make his date of November 9th, but it gave us a great opportunity to teach him more of the Atonement and that he would still be able to get baptized. He is preparing for this weekend and is very excited! He is still progressing well! We were also able to eat dinner at Sister Clark's house and she made us this amazing pasta dinner! I love Sister Clark! Her husband works at VMI and she is just such a great woman! We then stopped by Mary's and were able to visit with her for a bit. She is doing well.

Tuesday: We woke up at 3 and drove to Charleston with Sister Kitto (yes, my old companion) and Sister White. We had an amazing and thankfully I still get to go to one more! I love these meetings and all we are able to learn. We talk a lot about the needs of the missionaries and how to help this mission improve. I always learn so much! It was great to see the mission president as well.

Wednesday: We drove to Lynchburg and went on an exchange with Sister Freeland and Sister Sullivan. Sister Sullivan and I drove back to Lexington for the day and got to work. We were able to see James and teach him a bit. He needs the gospel! We then stopped by Linda's and she has taken a few steps back in her understanding of the gospel. She won't keep commitments! It shows me how important making and keeping commitments are to progressing! We can't just simply say we believe, we must live it! We then had a quick dinner before the church tour. Brother Hughes did a great job once again, I hope to start these church tours in each town I ever live in. They are amazing! The spirit is so strong!

Thursday: We drove back to Lynchburg for their zone meeting where we were able to teach about Chapter 8 in Preach My Gospel, how to cope with stress, and how zone meeting should be a council/valuable time to learn! It was wonderful! The zone leaders, Elder Lopez and Zazueta (both Spanish speakers) are so awesome! We love them! We then drove home after getting our oil changed and stopped by James again. He has some great questions and we know the gospel will help him find peace during this trial in his life. He is going through a lot right now. We also left him with a half a pizza that we had in our car. (My wonderful companion's idea.) Poor guy was hungry! We then drove to the Relief Society activity and met Elizabeth there. Miracle for the day! She went ring shopping!!! They are going to get married! She is one step closer to baptism! We had a dinner together then made some holiday crafts for the activity. Elizabeth loved it. She is so Mormon! :) I'm so excited for when she gets baptized! Even if I don't get to be here, she is one that I will remain friends with for a while.

Friday: We taught at our zone meeting. We taught about Chapters 8 & 9 in Preach My Gospel and also about ministering to the one. It was neat to teach other missionaries what I'd learned from the mission president. It helps it become more solidified in my mind. I'm so grateful for the sisters I get to serve with and for all i'm learning each day. What a great opportunity! After the zone meeting we were able to see Mary again before doing some time. We then went to correlation with Brother Hughes because Brother Reynolds was gone. Brother Hughes is truly one of the funniest men I've ever known. He is so excited about the gospel and never knows a stranger. Every ward needs one of him. We then went and saw Pattie for a bit and then did some walking and met a nice man named Bo. 

Saturday: We worked at the food pantry. Bob was as wonderful as ever! :) I hope you all can meet him someday (I'll make sure to take a picture of him before I leave.) We then had a quick lunch before heading to contact some referrals. Ooh and we got a new phone! Nothing fancy, just one that works. :) We also got to see Linda and help answer some more of her questions. While driving in Glasgow, we ran into Brother Wells who stopped us and told us to follow him and he would buy us dinner. haha Sweet! We went to this Church of the Brethren where they were having Oyster dinners as a fundraiser. haha I've never had oysters and most likely won't be having them again. Sister Tobler and I had a few questions the entire day on our minds. "Aren't oysters fancy meals?" "Why are the backwoods people in Glasgow and Natural Bridge obsessed?" haha Fried oysters...So weird! It was definitely an adventure but of course we had our baked potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, and pie with the oysters. I love Virginia! haha Green beans have become one of my favorite vegetables. Yup! I'm now a southern girl. ;) We then came home and ended the night with some weekly planning.

Sunday: We were able to go to church, and Randy came! Also, a recent convert who hasn't been to church since his baptism came! It was a beautiful day! The whole ward welcomed him with open arms. It was wonderful! We then had lunch before heading to see a few people. We contacted a referral before heading to check on Randy. We don't want him to give up. We then ended the night be eating dinner at Sister Christy's house with her 5 daughters. We had homemade pizza! Sister Christy is one amazing woman. The fun part of the evening was when the daughters began brushing my hair. It turned quickly from curly to fro and they loved it! They told me I was Princess Diaries 1 and my companion was Princess Diaries 2 ! haha Good times! Ooh and Brother Hughes took our meal calendar around church and we now have meals at least once a day until I go home...I'm REALLY trying to eat healthy, so this might be a bit of a challenge. haha Good times! 

This week as you can see has been one full of meetings, driving, meetings, and exchanges. Not as much missionary work going on, but that just get me even more excited to get back to work! I love sharing the gospel! Meetings are good, but they get tiring quickly. I love meeting new people each day and knowing that I have something that will help them! Even if they don't listen or accept it immediately I know that they will have the opportunity to someday! For example, while I was in Charleston, there was a man we were teaching named Jeff Quintrell. His wife was a member but she wasn't active. Well, we'd been teaching him and on Saturday night he was baptized!!! In a month he will be baptizing his 8 year old son! His wife just sobbed and said, "I knew this day would come." I knew it too! This family will be an eternal family next year! Yay! The gospel is true! It unites and blesses families eternally! 

Well, I hope you all know how much I love each of you. I'm so grateful for your examples to me and for all you do! I can't wait to hear about your adventures this week. Keep Randy in your prayers! I want each of you to know that I have a firm testimony of the gospel. I know that it is true! All of it! I know that my family is eternal! I know that death is not the end and that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us! The Atonement is at the center and is real! 

I love ya'll! (Doesn't that just sound nice?) :) I also caught myself saying "kin" the other day when talking about someone's family. I guess... I love all my kinfolk! :) haha 

Happy Birthday Stephanie and Adam!!! You two are wonderful!!!

Sister Herring

The sunrise on our drive to Charleston
Sister Combs and Sister Shumway..two of the best. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hello my dear family!!!

How are you this beautiful Monday? Mike and Kim, I can just picture you being a bit excited for Friday. :) I don't know why?! heehee I'm so excited for your family!!! Ahh!!! I expect pictures next Preparation day! 

So, this week has been wonderful! We've been busy getting Randy ready for baptism, we are going to be moving his date to November 16th for a few reasons, but he will be ready on that date! He is such a sweet man! 

On Monday we were able to see Mary and talk to her about coming to church. She is still solid in her testimony, but she is struggling with coming to church. We are going to continue working with the ward to get her fellow-shippers because that seems to be the main problem. 

Tuesday: We had a district meeting with our new district leader, Elder Shelton. This is his first time being a district leader and he was a bit nervous, but he did great. We then went and saw Elizabeth who is absolutely ready for baptism once she gets married. She is already talking about going to the temple to seal her family together. She loves the gospel and is now working on getting her boyfriend to propose. Exciting! She is such an amazing person! We then tried to see a few people before meeting with James. He is about to go to jail in a month and he said the entire time he is in there he is going to be working to get his life in order. We gave him a Book of Mormon and will teach him a little before he goes. (No worries, we are not in danger.) :) We then taught Randy at the Bria's home about the Restoration and following the prophet. He loves the gospel and is so excited to get baptized! He has had a rough past and is working through some things right now, but he is wonderful! We then had a great dinner before heading to decorate the church building for the ward chili cook-off. We were so excited! 

Wednesday: We were able to do some time before trying to see a few people to invite them to the party. We also got to teach Pattie a bit about the Priesthood before heading to the Church Party. We were even given the privilege of being the costume judges (it was the hardest job!) There were some cute costumes as you will see from the pictures. I will send a few so you can see how hard that decision was. It turned out to be a success though and everyone had an enjoyable time. Randy even came! 

Thursday: We did our lovely weekly planning before meeting with Linda. We saw Linda a few times this week and we have now adopted her as a mission mom. She is so funny! We just need to get her to come to church! Soon hopefully! We had dinner with the Krauts and then ended the night by teaching Randy again. We taught him a few more of the commandments and blessings attached. He knows it is true! He is progressing and loving every minute of learning. Such a great man!

Now for the fun part! We were able to drive to Roanoke on Friday and see Elder and Sister Renlund. They were amazing! We learned all about how to respond to questions, how to help the missionaries we serve, and so much more! I was even privileged to say 2 prayers! haha (I think President Salisbury forgot I'd already said one, but I do as I'm told!) :) We got to meet with Elder and Sister Renlund as the leadership of the mission after the zone conference and get special instructions on leadership. I loved every minute of it! I had a few of the missionaries come up and ask what the mission was going to do after I left. hahaha they make me laugh. :) The mission will be just fine! But, it was a wonderful event and the spirit was felt by each person present. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to go. We ended the night by doing a bit of "Teach and Treating" haha We brought our investigators treats and shared a message with each. It was fun! We even got candy from it , so it was wonderful!

Saturday we were able to go to the Food Pantry, then to lunch with the Rockbridge Sisters. We are working on keeping in better contact with our sisters. We then went to contact some referrals before going to see Linda again and ended the night at Meme and Bella's. Meme hadn't been to church in a while and after this visit, she came to church! It is amazing what fellow-shipping does.

Sunday we had a beautiful Sacrament meeting where I gave my final testimony in church. Yikes! Elizabeth even came which was wonderful. We then ate at the Clubbs and then checked on Randy to see why he didn't make it to church. He had had a rough night and was really stressed, and so we talked to him about church being  the stress reliever. :) He needs to come! And he will from now on. He understands the importance now. :) We also were able to meet a guy named Tom who we are going to begin teaching with his girlfriend. (As you can see, it is rare to find a married couple.) People! Just get married!!! 

Today we are going to be going to do some sight-seeing. And tomorrow I get to go to the Mission Leader Council!!! I think this is my last one which is so sad! I love these meetings. Hopefully I'll get one more. :)

Sorry this is not as detailed a letter. We are running around today, but I hope you all know how much I love you! Kortlynn welcome home!!! Madisen you are now 17!!! Happy Birthday!!! 

I want you to know that I love being a missionary! I love this gospel!  I love the Book of Mormon! I love my life! I love you!

Have the best week!

Sister Herring

Pictures: Cute ward members!

One of the elders found this gem. :) 

Look at the leaves!!! Amazing!!! (No I didn't cut my hair) :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello my cute family!

Another great day in the neighborhood! Have I told you lately that I love being a missionary?! Because I do! It truly is the most rewarding, difficult, but amazing experience I've ever had in my entire life! I've never felt so close to my Heavenly Father, and I've never seen so many daily miracles! Things are happening around us each day and sometimes we need to take a second to step back and reflect on those "tender mercies". (Thank you Stephanie!) Here is my tender mercy list/letter for the week!

First off, Wednesday after I finished writing the email for last week, we went and taught Brittany. She is struggling with her faith in Christ, but as I testified to her of what I knew to be true, it hit me how strongly I have come to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and knows me by name, and I have a Savior who suffered and died for me! What strength and power comes from this simple declaration of truth! Wow! We have so much because of the gospel! We then had a lazy rest of our preparation day before heading to teach Randy the "Stop-Chewing Program". He has already thrown out his coffee, alcohol, and he threw away his chew that night as we handed him the cinnamon gum, juice, and other items he would need to quit. He wants to get baptized on November 9th that he is fighting every urge to chew. It is the hardest thing he's ever done (he's chewed for 51 years) but he is doing it with the help of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! He is such a great example! Wow!

Thursday: Tender Mercies were everywhere! We woke up at 4:00 and went and picked up Sister Nielsen while she waited for her companion. After sleeping for a little bit (until 6:30), we were able to meet with Linda's son, Robert. He is a major alcoholic and has lost his purpose of life. He doesn't realize it, but he is searching! We are teaching and he is changing! From the first time we met him, he started changing. He has cleaned up his garage and when we teach him, he won't smoke, drink, or cuss! Wow! The spirit is so essential to this work and does change lives! He has such potential and we are working hard to help him realize his! We then had a quick lunch before heading to see Willie and Karen. They are great people and are finally back into their new trailer. It looks great! We next met with this girl named Sara, who changed her name to Serafina. She has had a very rough past and has a beautiful array of every color of hair, but now is looking for a better relationship with God. She loves the Mormon church because she feels love and the spirit around them. The lesson with her was wonderful! She is so neat! We then had a great dinner with a family in Buena Vista and visited Larry (Sister Nielsen's investigator) before heading to pick up Sister Williams. She is Sister Nielsen's new companion! Fun times! We then came home and took it easy for the rest of the night because we were both a bit sick. Shhh...don't tell Sister Nielsen. :)

Friday: Sick day...I woke up with a massive cold and Sister Tobler was extremely nauseous so we weren't able to go out, but no worries, we got our area book updated, and were able to work that evening. We went to correlation with Brother Reynolds before heading home. It wore us out sadly! No worries, I'm all better now! Tender Mercy for the day was being able to make it correlation!

Saturday: We worked at the food pantry and got to see Bob!!! I love him! He is every missionary's favorite person. :) We then has a quick lunch before heading to see Pattie. She has some great questions. We then did a lot of walking before heading to see Linda. She had been studying the Restoration pamphlet and had questions about prophets. She knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is Christ's church. She even said, "I can see the day when everyone is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" Wow! I love her! She is totally going to be baptized in December! Yay! We then visited with Robert for a bit before heading to dinner. We ended the night with a little walking and reflected once again on the amazing miracles we've been blessed to see.

Sunday: We had some wonderful hours spent at church. Randy came and said that he hasn't had coffee, chew, or alcohol all week! He also was telling people that he was getting baptized next month. :) He is so excited! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach him! We then had lunch with the Clubbs before heading to Glasgow. We did a lot of walking and talking to people but the best part was...the Cowboy Church! We got invited to go to their evening service and just picture this. The preacher was wearing a cowboy hat, boots, we began church with the pledge of allegiance, and then country songs had their words replaced with some words to a hymn and the preacher's wife sang to all 10 people there...oh wait, 12 including us. haha it was awesome! They invited us back anytime and during the sermon, the preacher kept on pointing at us and saying, "These are the Lord's servants! Spreading the good word of God! They've sacrificed to be here! We are all needed to share the word!" hahaha It was awesome! He was practically telling his congregation to listen to us! Wonderful! They gave us a copy of their Cowboy Bible which is now one of my favorite things I've gotten from the mission. I'll show it to you all someday. (Yes, I catch myself saying ya'll...I'm trying to quit). :) But it was just a fun time! The preacher's wife gave us her phone number if we ever needed anything! New friends! :) Let's teach them all! As we were walking around Glasgow we got asked on a date by this guy named Frankie....hmm...not happening, but it was a nice try. We ended the night with dinner and dessert at home where our landlord, Brother Davis, was having his cross-country team from SVU over for dessert. A bunch of young single adults who are Mormon! Yikes! I've never been so awkward! Needless to say, we didn't stay long. :) Awkward!

We are excited for this coming week and the future miracles and tender mercies that will be coming our way! What tender mercies did you see today? We get to go listen to Elder Renlund of the Seventy on Friday (Halloween) and we also get to be missionaries all day! Yay! Ooh! And I found out a lady I'd been teaching in Back Creek got baptized last weekend! Mary Henderson is now a member of the church! I"m so happy!!! Seeds planted aren't wasted! 

This week is full of birthdays! Happy Birthday Chandon!!! Happy Birthday Kortlynn!!! Happy Birthday Steven!!! I love each of you and I'm so grateful to be related to each of you! I hope your birthdays are as wonderful as you are!!! Have the best day ever!!! 

I want you all to know that I love you so much! I'm so grateful for the gospel! I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon! This morning during my studies I was giddy as I read about Zeezrom...I kept on reading and loved reading about Ammon! I love their examples to me! When Zeezrom was healed, he didn't just stand up, he leaped upon his feet! I want to do the same! Have the faith to leap! :) I hope each of you have the most wonderful week! 

Keep on being amazing!
Sister Herring

P.S. I don't know why pictures haven't been happening! I'm going to keep my camera with me all the time this week! There are going to be too many pictures to send next week! :) Sorry! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My wonderful and amazing family!!!

Yup, that's what you are!!! How are you?! I hope this email finds you safe, healthy, and happy! This week has been exciting!!! Sadly, I don't have my planner with me, so my details won't be nearly as good! :) 

Tammy!!! Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for being such a fantastic sister-in-law! You are wonderful! Let me know how the Broadway play goes! Which one do you get to see? 

We had miracles happen each day and it was so neat to see the steps those we are teaching are taking to come closer to God. Maybe, because I'm a slacker in knowing what happened each day, I'll write this week about the people. Ooh this will be fun!

First off, Randy. He is 58 and just a sweetie. Very backwoods, but super kind and wanting to get baptized. We saw him a few times and taught him about the Plan of Salvation and also the Word of Wisdom. We are meeting with him tonight to help him begin the stop-chewing program. Can I just say how grateful I am for the Word of Wisdom. I've seen so many people with massive addictions out here and it makes me grateful for the knowledge I have of the importance of a body and how to take care of it! I've seen so many lives on the mission that have been ruined due to drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. Just never start! That way you have way more freedom and families are blessed! The wonderful thing is the Atonement is real and just like these people falling into traps of addiction, the Savior has put in a ladder. It may not be easy to climb out, but it is possible! And Randy is doing it!

Next, Elizabeth is 23. She grew up Baptist and has heard every form of anti- imaginable. She is searching for truth though and we met with her this last week at the Clubb's home and taught her about temples. She is intrigued by them and loves learning! She loves the pamphlets and manuals and studies the scriptures daily. I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but she bought her own leather-bound triple combination and also fasted before coming to conference! (We hadn't even taught her fasting!) She is simply amazing! We taught her about the law of chastity and she is going to talk to her boyfriend about getting married. She is awesome! She even recognizes that God has prepared her for this time to accept the gospel. I love it!

Linda. She is in her 60s and is hilarious! She used to be a race car driver and is at a point in her life where she is looking for more. Her son struggles with major addictions and she feels that she is at her whits end. She told us yesterday that she is ready to make changes in her life and is looking for more! We invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She is ready! I love her! It was so neat because we didn't plan on teaching yesterday, but stopped by and she welcomed us in. We didn't have a lesson plan, but I kept on feeling the prompting to teach about the Holy Ghost. We began teaching and that is when she said, "I'm ready for more in my life." Ahh! Yay! 

One neat experience from last week is when we went to teach Miranda and her 3 oldest kids (she has 5) were begging us for a copy of the Book of Mormon. We are going back this week to teach them! Yay! A Family! Miranda's 11 year old, Hannah, began flipping through the Book of Mormon and screamed out..."I found Jesus!" hahaha It was priceless.

We also began teaching Pattie who is 60 and used to be in a motorcycle gang. :) She was being taught by other sisters in Buena Vista, but she recently moved to our area. Her daughter joined the church and now we are teaching her. She is a funny lady. 

We had another miracle when we received a text from a former investigator named Brittany who is 21. She grew up Atheist, but wants to believe in God. She went to church on Sunday and loved it, but we are meeting with her today and hopefully going to help her continue to develop that faith. She is on the right track!

We also had a few lessons with Gloria, Robyn, and a few others, but those are the ones we are most excited for at the moment. Great things are happening! The work is being hastened and we get to be a part of it! Yay! 

Funny story for the week: We went out walking the other day and of course it began pouring rain, but we met this cute couple bringing in groceries and they invited us to come to their church, the Cowboy church, with them! Can you imagine....a cowboy church? They said the preacher wears a cowboy hat, jeans, and boots! We are pretty excited to attend someday and to teach this couple the truth. :) 

My testimony has grown so much over the past 16 months and I'm looking forward to all I still get to learn!!! This truly is the Lord's work! I know the Atonement is real and I know that the Priesthood has been restored. I know this is THE only true church on the earth today! I know that there is a place for everyone in it! I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God! Something the Stake President said during stake conference was. "People may say we are not Christians, but we are THE Christian church." Just think about that. We are a part of His church! I love it!

Well, we are off, but I hope each of you have the best week ever! Remember you are loved! Remember what we are a part of right now! I love this gospel and I love you!

Sister Herring

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello my beautiful family!!!

How are you?! How are things in the West?! Life is wonderful here in the beautiful West Virginia Charleston Mission! Last week was truly another miraculous week!

We started off Monday by running night by finishing off our Preparation day due to not really having one. :) 

Tuesday: We drove to an exchange with the sisters in Lynchburg. Sister Freeland and I then drove  back to Lexington to get to work. Ooh and we got to eat lunch at Panera! Truly a bit of heaven. We then went and met up with Brother Wells who referred us to his friend, Randy. Randy is amazing! We then went and visited Linda and she started asking about baptism! Yay! She is beginning to understand authority! We then made a quick trip to Loleta who is developing dementia. We then tried to see a few more people before having to drive home. (We were going to go tracting, but we had no umbrella and a massive rainstorm hit!) It was crazy! We had a quick bite to eat before heading out (with our umbrellas) to do some tracting. We met one man named Josh, who wasn't interested, but he was super nice!

Wednesday: We did a little tracting in Glasgow and met a few nice people, including my Jehovah Witness friend, Maxine. She is a large African-American lady and I love her to death! We then exchanged back (we got Papa Johns) and then Sister Tobler and I drove back to Lexington to go see Randy. We had a lesson with him before the church tour and he is truly amazing! He is the kindest man, he's had a rough past, but he is working to get his life in order. I'm so excited for him. As he was leaving the church tour, in tears, he said "I feel like a weight of 100 pounds has been lifted." Wow! So neat! I love him already! He's working to get baptized on November 9th. We then exchanged with the Rockbridge sisters and Sister Combs came here with me.

Thursday: We were able to do our stake correlation reports before heading to lunch and then to work. We then spent the entire day street contacting and trying to see people. It was a good day to tract and the nice weather was a definite plus! We ended up getting to teach Robbie, who we hadn't seen in months, and we ended the night by teaching Mary. She is doing great still! We then exchanged back!

Friday: We did some time, went to District Leader Council, ate lunch, painted Willie and Karen's closet, then drove out to heart attach a recent convert, Meme's, door, before heading over to contact a referral of this woman named Lois Curry who was going to be teaching her Methodist church about the Mormon faith. She was awesome! We then ended the day with some dinner and weekly planning! Good times! 

Saturday: We worked at the food pantry, ate some lunch, finished our weekly planning, then we were able to teach Linda before heading to the Evening session of Stake Conference. It was a wonderful meeting! The spirit was so strong! It ended up being a great day! Oh funny story, at the end of the conference, President Salisbury had to talk to Elder Degooyer's companion, so President asked us to be in a trio with him until he came back. haha Poor Elder Degooyer was so awkward! We were too! There is a reason we have companions. :) 

Sunday: We went to stake conference where we were also able to see President and Sister Salisbury. I love them! We then had a nice lunch of fish, rice, and Sister Tobler's Green Beans. She makes the best green beans! :) We then went and tracted in the rain (a common activity this week). We ate dinner with the Davis's. They always make delicious crepes. We then ended the night by teaching Randy! Have I told you, he looks just like Roger Heap. He is the sweetest man, and I can't wait for him to get baptized!

Today we were able to go as a district to see the Caverns. They are the deepest on the East Coast and were amazing! I'll attach some pictures. Just a wonderful week! Sorry this is not more detailed, but it was wonderful! We got to be missionaries all day! :) We all get to be instruments in the Lord's hands and to do His work at this time. I love it! I love seeing the gospel change lives! We get to teach Elizabeth this week and she is still progressing well. We saw her for a few minutes this week and she was expressing how much she has already seen the Word of Wisdom bless her life. She is amazing!

Well, I'd better be off, but I love you! I hope you all know how much I appreciate the prayers and support. I am so grateful daily for your examples to me. I know that this is the true church on the earth today! I know prayers are answered! I know that we have a prophet who speaks and acts for God. I know that as we put our faith in and follow the prophet, we WILL be blessed! I know my Savior lives!

I love you!

Sister Herring

Pictures: The Caverns!