Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014
I'm singing in the rain! Just singing in the rain!

Truly, it is pouring outside! This whole week has been out of a postcard until today, but it is still warm and so I love the rain! :) It makes everything even more green, cleans our car, and makes driving super fun! I don't know if I've told anyone other than my companions this, but I feel like a race car driver out here. There are so many curves and once you get used to them, they aren't too bad! I am even pretty good at avoiding pot holes! Woohoo! Unexpected blessings!

This past week has been one of major miracles. Where to begin?! The beginning! Monday evening, Sister Larrabee got sick again and we weren't able to go out Tuesday or Wednesday. Then, a miracle happened! We were able to have another sister come to our area and Sister Larrabee went to the mission president's home to rest! Sister Morgan is now my companion until transfers and once Sister Larrabee gets to feeling better, she will be back with us! Sister Morgan is amazing! A huge blessing to this area! We were able to get to work on Thursday and Heavenly Father blessed us with so many prepared people!

Thursday - We stopped by the doctor so that Sister Larrabee could do the pre-testing before her surgery. We then drove to our district meeting where we had interviews with President Pitt. He is such a wonderful man and I learn so much during every interaction. During our interview, he hinted at the possibility of me staying in this area at least one more transfer! Let's hope! I wouldn't mind staying here for 7.5 months. I love this area and we have so many exciting things happening! If I end up getting transferred, that would be okay too, but he gave me some hope. I will let you know next Tuesday! Well, after our interviews, we took Sister Larrabee to the mission home to rest and Sister Morgan and I got to work. We were able to see Mandy, Keith, Lawrence, and a few others and we also got to eat at Chick-Fil-A for dinner! It was a great day! We even found a new person to teach!

Friday - We did some exciting weekly planning...then went to see a few people who hadn't been able to make it to church in a while. This is where we began to see some huge miracles. We had about 20 minutes before we needed to head in and so we said a quick prayer to know where to go. I had the name of one of our investigators pop into my head and so we headed in that direction. On the way, I felt like we should check on one of our former investigators and just see if he might be there. As we were driving by, I was about to turn around when we saw him outside! He came up to us and said, "I thought you weren't here anymore!" We set up a time to come by on Saturday and he was so excited and told us that his situation had changed from the last time we taught him. Yay! We then drove to the lady we had originally planned on, and when she wasn't home, I had another name of a former who lived close by. We drove over and that former investigator wasn't home either. We saw the door of the neighbor's house was open though and so we knocked. This tattooed man with gauged ears came to the door and we began to tell him that we had a message centered on Jesus Christ. He kindly smiled but then I said, "And we have a prophet on the Earth today!" This is when his eyes lit up. He came out and said that he wondered why there weren't prophets today, and why we didn't have any other record of Jesus Christ. Wow! He told us that he had just gone through a divorce but was extremely interested in learning more. We are going back on Wednesday night to teach him. He is awesome! It was amazing to look back at how we had been led to that point. We not only found a new investigator, but we were able to re-find an old one! :) Miracles!

Saturday - We went to our lesson with Jim. He is living with his mother and brother and a few friends stop in every once in a while. He is a great guy, but is still working on getting his life in order. The lesson was fantastic even though people were constantly walking in and out of the apartment. We've decided to teach him in a different location next time, but we have high hopes for him and his brother. They really like the "Mormon" religion as they call it. We were able to then do some service for Mandy, got to see this adorable little man named Buddy Crabtree who is 88. We also saw Lisa for a bit and she has had a fantastic week! She is really trying to get her life organized, find a job, and get settled. She is doing it the right way now though with prayer and scripture study to be her help.

Sunday - We were excited for church! Mandy and Francis came! Francis is still shooting for Mother's Day to be baptized. She is the cutest old lady! I love her! You'd love her too! During church they had a visiting and home teaching conference with a dinner after church! Fancy! :) We also went tracting before church and this man told us to come back! We will see him later this week and hopefully I will have exciting news to report. After church, we went out to bring some bread to one of our investigators and when she wasn't there we decided to walk a different direction home. On the way home, there were some guys talking on their porch and a motorcycle parked out front (this is the perfect opportunity to invite some to learn about the gospel) I told them that was a beautiful bike (I don't know anything about them) and they began talking to us! One of the guys wanted to set me up with his son, but instead I invited him to learn about the gospel! haha We then went to the next house where this cute lady had an Origami Owl necklace on (another conversation starter). She told us to come back because we were cute, nice girls, so these two houses want us to come back! (No worries, not planning on going to meet my future husband anytime soon). haha With each of these people talking to us, it put us in the exact spot to meet Frank. We were walking down the street after our conversations when Frank was walking by. I had remembered receiving a referral from the elders that matched this man's description, so I asked, "Are you Frank?" haha That is not a normal conversation starter. He said, "yes" and we told him who we were and he immediately walked us back to his apartment for a lesson. We weren't able to go in due to no woman being in the home, so we taught him on his porch and told us about his desire to come back to Christ. We invited him to be baptized and he said "yes!". He is now preparing for baptism on June 29th! Exciting! Miracles! If those people hadn't stopped to talk to us, we would have never met Frank! Wow! We even had a loaf of bread for him! Heavenly Father is definitely aware of His children and is involved in this great work!

I know that this is His work and that I am merely an instrument. I am so grateful for this gospel and to be serving this mission right now. I know that I am here for a reason whether that be to strengthen my testimony, to plant seeds, or to baptize! Each missionary is vital to this work and is needed now! I'm so grateful for my testimony of this gospel. I know that it is true! The Book of Mormon is true! I love my life!

I hope everyone has the best week ever! Until next Tuesday!

Sister Herring

Picture 1 - Sister Larrabee drew a picture of me! :) It even has a name tag!
Picture 2 - Sister Morgan and I!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Picture 1 - Sunset!

Picture 2 - Waiting in the Dr's office today.

Picture 1 - The Teays Valley Sister's wreath...yes, that is a real bird on the top
Picture 2 - What's under the bird?... Baby birds!
Picture 3 - We made our is not as exciting :)

April 21, 2014
Dear familia!

Tudo Ben?! Oi! I'm learning so much Portuguese! :) haha (or maybe I just asked my companion how to say hello.) :) Speaking of my companion. She received the test results this week and found out that 0% of her gall bladder is working which means she will be having surgery this week or the next. I'm not sure what they will have me do while she is recovering, but I'm sure it will be an adventure! Whenever we want a good laugh, we look at each other and say "0%". haha We were a bit surprised, but she has been a trooper through it all and can't wait to be better. We have been eating beyond healthy, because she can't eat any fat! I kept on feeling bad eating in front of her, so I have been eating healthy too! It is actually an answer to a prayer.

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter! I know I did! I'm going to skip ahead in my letter to tell you all about Sunday. Wow! It was a good day! First of all, thank you again mom for that cute package! I loved it! We were a bit worried that Sister Larrabee wouldn't make it to church because her stomach was killing her, but little by little, she was able to feel better enough to go. We headed out the door and went to correlation where Brother Cotrell had brought us fresh fruit and a quiche! It was so yummy! We then went to church where Frankie came! She is truly the funniest woman ever! She calls us her daughters and when she leaned over in church and said she would be sad when we left, I said, "No worries, I'll come back to visit!" She took that as me promising to come back! She is now telling everyone that I will be back to visit her and that I promised! haha Guess I'll have to do that! haha No pressure there!

We had a fantastic Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and Relief Society. It was a wonderful couple of hours. Lisa and Angela were both there which always makes me happy to see them continue to progress in the gospel, and the spirit was so strong!

After church, the elders had a baptism scheduled of a man named Charles. We were able to go and it was a special event. How appropriate on Easter! Mandy wasn't able to come, but I know someday she will get baptized. After the baptism, the Cotrells had invited Frankie to their home for Easter dinner along with us and they made us a feast! Holy cow! (Sister Larrabee wasn't able to eat any of it, but she doesn't cause a fuss. The Cotrells are very nice though, they got her salad, carrots, green beans, and a bunch of other food that she would be able to eat. They also got us Peeps and little "Thank you" cards for Easter. Another lady in the ward also gave us both a huge chocolate bunny (which we gave to someone who could eat it). This ward is wonderful! I love them!

We then ended the night by seeing Lisa and we did a little Easter lesson with her and it ended up being a great Easter. P.S. Frankie is planning on getting baptized on Mother's Day! I might not be here for the baptism, but she picked the date and at church announced it to everyone! Woohoo! She has already told her family and wants it! I love her! She's given up coffee because she knows this is what she wants to do. So cool! We've only taught her twice, but she is doing this all on her own!

So for the rest of the week, we've had to stay indoors quite a bit. Sister Larrabee gets fatigued and weak quickly and so we do as much as we can. Heavenly Father has definitely been blessing us this week though. We got a text on Thursday from one of the members in the ward that said, "Hey sisters, my sister-in-law is ready to take the lessons, can we meet tomorrow?" (Just so you know, if you ever text this to a missionary, they are going to be dancing on the other end.) Well, we of course met with her and her sister-in-law is amazing! She is beyond prepared for the gospel and when we invited her to be baptized, she said, "Absolutely!" Wow! It was a special experience for her and for the member involved. So neat! We will be teaching her again tomorrow and we are pumped! It has just been so neat to see that even though we've only been able to go out a few days this week, we've had a fantastic week and the elders told us that we are doing better than most of the mission! Even though that doesn't matter, it has helped us feel peace that everything will be okay even during times of sickness. The Lord is truly blessing us.

The elders even came home and helped out area on Saturday. We weren't able to go out at all except to our dinner appointment on Saturday so we gave them a street to tract and they got us 4 return appointments. So exciting! We are hoping this week is going to be crammed full with goodness! :)

We went on an exchange with the Teays Valley sisters and oddly enough, I got to be back with Sister Kitto! It was like old times! So much fun! We went to work and Sister Kitto said she needed this. We both did! It was fun to be with her again, but it also helped me see how much this area has continued to grow with Sister Larrabee being here. I love being a missionary!

I know that in a couple of weeks, I'll most likely be transferred. We found out that Sister Larrabee's visa has not come in, so she will most likely stay. When I realized that I would probably be leaving, it was a bit of a sad thing! I have grown to love this area, the people, and the ward! Luckily, I still have time and I can't wait for the great things that will be happening during the next couple of weeks! The weather is warm, the people are out, and even though there is a lot of bad in the world, there is a lot of good in West Virginia! The work is being hastened everywhere! It is so neat to be a part of it right now!

Well, we'd better be off, but I hope you all have the most beautiful week! Remember the truthfulness of the gospel! This is the one and only true church on the Earth! The Book of Mormon is true! We are being led by a man called of God! I know my Savior lives! Exclamation point! :)

Keep up the good work and share the gospel with everyone! They all want the truth and the fullness of the gospel, they just don't know it yet. ;)

Love ya,
Sister Herring

Picture 1 - Beautiful tree outside the Dr.'s office
Picture 2 - Reunited at last!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Picture 1 - Sister Larrabee! And my mug!

Picture 2 - We were playing with the settings on the camera. :)

Picture 1 - Making the pottery

Picture 2 - A temple I made while Sister Larrabee was sick.

Picture 3 - The finished product!


Anna Herring

1:04 PM (1 hour ago)
Good afternoon my beautiful, amazing, family!!!

The sun is once again shining!!! Yesterday it got up to about 83 degrees! Wow! I even have a tan line from my shoes! I guess that makes me a real missionary! haha ;) It is supposed to be a bit chillier tomorrow, but no worries, only about 50s. Yay! Spring is here to stay! I've decided...

This week has been a little slower. Rex's letter and mine may seem very similar. As you know, my companion has been a bit sick over the past couple months, but this week it got even worse. We weren't able to go out for a few days because she was constantly nauseous, weak, and tired. She is a trooper though and we had a few times where we were able to leave the apartment. Just like Rex, you learn how to do many things when you are stuck in the apartment. I was able to read further in "Jesus the Christ", I organized my desk, I cleaned (a few times), and various other activities. Fun times! Sister Larrabee has figured out what she can and can't eat, so this week we will be able to leave more. She goes to the doctor tomorrow morning to find out what needs to be done. She has an ultrasound (we were joking that she was going to have twins) and it came back normal. She is not having normal symptoms though so we are anxious to find out what needs to be done. She is not allowed to eat very much if any fat, so I think this is going to help me eat healthier too! A blessing!

Monday - We were able to go to a place called "The Pottery Place" with our neighbor, Jolena, to make mugs. Let me begin by telling each of you that I am not an artist...I began by choosing a star theme. I was going to have the mug be dark blue with white stars. As I began painting, my stars became non-existent and morphed, so I changed them into my favorite flower, Lilies. I then wrote the phrase "consider the lilies" with some music notes on it and I think it turned out pretty good! Not amazing, but good for a Sister Herring project. I will attach pictures.

Tuesday - We went on exchanges with the Beaver sisters. Sister Stringham came to South Hills with Sister Searle and I, and Sister Larrabee went to Beaver with Sister Long. So, we got to work and Sister Stringham got to see our awesome investigators! She even got to meet our funny neighbors across the street. We saw many miracles. I love exchanges because you always learn so much!

Wednesday - Sister Larrabee came back from Beaver really not well, so we came home and Sister Searle spent the night packing. I on the other hand finished reading this month's Ensign (which happens to be amazing!) and then Sister Searle needed a break so we took a few pictures, which I will also attach. While Sister Searle was here, we took so many pictures compared to the normal day.

Thursday - Sister Searle left at 5:15, we went to have Sister Larrabee get her ultrasound, we did some weekly planning, then Sister Larrabee took the afternoon to rest.

Friday - We went to a district meeting at the mission office which was fun. We learned about the Book of Mormon and following up on commitments. We then had some great lessons! Sister Larrabee decided she could go to our scheduled lessons, so we got to see Daniel and Mandy. We taught Daniel about the Word of Wisdom, and committed Mandy to make a plan to get baptized. Mandy is truly ready! I love her!

Saturday - We got a call from the elders that one of the other areas was struggling, so we went to do a Blitz. Sister Larrabee was still not feeling better, but wanted to help. We headed over and they sent us to an area to tract. This is where the miracle story takes place. This past week we had stopped at McDonalds for a happy meal (Sister Larrabee got a salad). Sister Searle and I got My Little Pony's for our toy and just laughed that we were excited about this. Well, as we were driving down the road one day we saw a street named "Scarberry Lane". We began giggling as Sister Larrabee said, Ooh that sounds like the evil version of a My Little Pony! (We must have been tired) Well, the elders gave us a list of roads to go try and the first on the list was "berry lane". We both knew this was where we needed to go. We began to drive and this road had 2 houses on it. The last house had a pond in front and chickens all over the yard, but we went to knock on the door. A lady walked out right before we got there and said, "I go to the Nazarene church, I'm good." Well, that doesn't stop us. haha I happen to know a lot of people who go there, so we got to talking to her and slowly as we began to share our testimonies of the gospel and teach her, she softened and by the end she took a Book of Mormon and said we could come back and teach her! The spirit is truly able to soften hearts and change lives! We then decided to go tracting the next street over and after knocking on every door without success, we were walking back to our car when we noticed this house that we had already tried, but this time there was a car in the driveway! We decided to try one more time and after we knocked, this lady in her 60s answered by saying, "Hello sisters!" Apparently she was a member! She hadn't been to church in about 4 years though and had been feeling the need to go back. Wow! The Lord is truly aware of all his children. So cool!

We then stopped by the Dorsey's house before heading home that night and Brother Dorsey said we had to try a West Virginia treat called "ramps". It is similar to onions, but you find them in forests where it is wet and dark. It was actually pretty good and Brother Dorsey says that I will now not get sick. ;) Funny man! I feel like a real West Virginian!

Sunday! We were able to have Mandy and Sarah come to church! Sarah even brought her 12 year old and her 6 year old daughters. She loved church and said she will be back! She said that no other church ever "filled her" and she thinks she's found her place. She wants to continue learning and we will meet with her Wednesday night. Fun times! On the way back, Mandy bore her testimony, she said she got too nervous to do it in church (she's not even been baptized yet!). She is truly progressing so much! We are excited to see what happens.

We then got home and realized that we had misplaced our phone. A member had given us a ride home and we had left it in her car. We got it back this morning, but it was a crazy night trying to get everything done. We got to see a less-active lady to end the night who made us laugh when she said she had gotten chocolate from Hawaii pronounced "Ha-why-ah" haha So cute!

Sorry this is a bit scattered. It turned out to be a great week! I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. Great things are happening around the world!

Lexie! Happy Birthday! You are such a beautiful young woman and I'm grateful to have you as my niece!

The church is true! Don't forget it! The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored today in its fullness. We are so blessed to be a part of it. I hope everyone has a happy Easter!

Love You all!

Sister Herring

Monday, April 7, 2014

Picture 1 - See the beautiful tree behind us?! So cool!
Picture 2 - Don't show this to anyone! haha jk, but it's my 9 month picture! :) 

Picture 1 - We have the prettiest Cardinals out here!
Picture 2 - Ready to go help build a fence in the mud!

Picture 1 - New slogan for our church building (The deer come, you should too!) :)
Picture 2 - I finally straightened my hair!

Picture 1 - My companions singing our morning song.
Picture 2 - Coolest picture of Mandy's bunny ever! His name is Latte

April 7, 2014

Hello hello!

First off, Happy birthday Gracie!!! I love you!
What a beautiful week! Things are definitely starting to warm up here and it seems like green has popped out of nowhere! We look around now and see daffodils everywhere, grass, and blossoms! I love it! I now feel like it is spring time! Yay! 
I think this week would be easiest to explain day-by-day. :) Hopefully I won't forget anything!
Monday - After we finished writing emails, there were 3 people in the computers next to us that we began to talk to. One young boy, a young girl, and the girl's tutor. We started teaching them and they were really interested in our message! We had a great discussion with them, and although we haven't seen them since, we know some great seeds were planted! I got to share the account of Joseph Smith's first vision in the middle of the library! So cool! We then ended the night by seeing Lisa. Oh and poor Sister Larrabee was quite sick.
Tuesday - We went to MLC which is mission lingo for the misson leadership council. It was an amazing meeting where President Pitt teaches the zone leaders and the sister training leaders about what the mission needs to hear, then the zone leaders take that information to the missionaries in our zone meetings. President Pitt talked about obedience and how when we put off our sins and mistakes, we can become more Christlike. We also talked about the fact that our missionary handbook should be considered our commandments, not merely rules. When we live them, we will receive blessings, if we don't, we need to repent. Pretty bold, but true! I love President Pitt and will miss him in July. Although I'm sure I will love the new mission president as well. After that meeting we took Sister Larrabee to the doctor where they decided she might need to have her gall bladder out. Poor girl! She is going to be getting an ultrasound to see how bad her gall bladder is and then they will decide. They want to figure it all out before she leaves to Brazil. We then went to find this mind that we had invited to learn named George. We knocked on the door and a woman said, "Come in!" As missionaries, you are a bit hesitant when you hear this, but we ventured in and this woman said, "Wow! I didn't know there were female Latter-Day Saints!" huh? She then asked us if we could have a lesson? We thought about it for approximately a fourth of a second and said, "Yes!" Her name is Sarah and she met with missionaries about 8 years ago. She had moved and wanted to meet some more and new we were there for a reason. She has a lot of potential, and we are excited to teach her. You know someone is elect when they ask to set up weekly teaching appointments. Amazing!
Wednesday - Happy 7th Birthday Grace!!! I will be at your baptism next year! :) We did our weekly planning because we figured we'd be in meetings for the next 2 days. We then met up with Elder Stout and Livingston (the zone leaders) to plan the zone meeting. Elder Stout had bought Panera for lunch. I got my favorite sandwich, the Bacon Turkey Bravo, and we got started! We decided to do an Easter theme. Elder Stout is big into decorating and making the meeting memborable and he spends his money like it is water! I guess he owns his own trucking company back at home and is very comfortable in the money situation. Well, after planning this and deciding who would teach what, we went and raked leaves for this elderly lady before heading to dinner. It was a long morning, but we also got to teach the Bays family and then headed home for the night.
Thursday - I'd officially been out for 9 months! Whoa! It truly has flown by! But today was wonderful! We went to our zone meeting where we got to teach about compassion and charity. It turned out to be a success, we even had a cereal party with the whole zone! Fun times! We then went to work and met up with Sister Blessent. She is one of the ward missionaries who is now coming out with us every Thursday. What a blessing! She drove us and we taught Daniel, Jesse, and invited many people to watch conference. We then went and saw Lisa for dinner and that was wonderful! She is such a cute lady! We are doing a family night with her today.
Friday - We went to go contact a referral on this hollow, pronounced "holler" in Virginia and "holla" in West Virginia. I guess I'd been spelling it wrong this whole time! But, we went down this windy road and gave a Book of Mormon to this man who had recently gotten out of jail. He was so nice! Well, a little too nice! haha As we were leaving, we shook his hand and he kissed our hands! Although we did feel like princesses, we felt a little like hand sanitizer might be necessary. haha I love the people in this great state! We then met up with Sister McDonald in the ward and she drove with us to teach the Wagoners. They are a Presbyterian couple we are teaching and Sister McDonald used to be Presbyterian. We figured this would be perfect! It was a great lesson and the Wagoners are still content with their religion, but they will hopefully have watched conference! We then went and had dinner at the Cotrells. It was pizza night which poor Sister Larrabee can't eat anymore. She has to eat super healthy which will hopefully rub off on me! haha We ended the night by seeing Nancy Fox and Lydia. They are some of my favorite women and we were definitely supposed to be there. Lydia had had a rough day and Nancy found out she has cancer again. :( We are hoping to help them in any way possible. We love them! While I was talking one on one with Nancy (the other two were talking to Lydia), she put her hand on my cheek and said, "I'll be alright, dear." I guess I had my concerned face on. But I just love this woman! She is one of my favorite West Virginians. :)
Oh and funny in between story! Moose, our dear friend across the street, tried to hug me! The same day as our hands were kissed! Crazy man! haha We just laughed it off. I love being an awkward missionary.
Saturday - Conference! We spent the morning trying to get people to come to watch it, but ended up driving there with no success. We loved it though! It was exactly what we needed and if you haven't gotten to watch it, I suggest taking a couple hours and watching it! It would be worth your time! During the break, we had lunch, got a mini blizzard from DQ (the flavor of the month is confetti cake) and then we did some studies. We then watched the 2nd session and then ended the night with dinner at Mandy's. She made us spaghetti which was divine and then we watched the Restoration video. Again, this is a powerful video and I love sharing it!
Sunday - Lisa drove Mandy to watch conference! Yay! Mandy loved every minute of it! It was so cool to be sitting in the chapel with Lisa, Angela, and Mandy! 2 women who have already made the step to be baptized and 1 who is planning on it! What a huge blessing to get to share this gospel with such wonderful people! I love them all! We had invited Mandy to go to conference with questions and to include the questions of was Joseph Smith a prophet, and is Thomas S. Monson the prophet today? Mandy definitely got answers to both these questions! Elder Corbridge's talk was especialy touching! I loved President Uchtdorf's talk and so many others! I had the vibe that now is the time to dedicate ourselves to following the prophet, being obedient, and as the Gilbert dedication theme stated, "Living True to the Faith". I was beaming with pride as the Gilbert Temple Dedication was mentioned at least 2 times! :) So neat! I also loved the talk about our 4 minutes to perform. I can't wait to someday watch the highlight reel of the olympics! It sounds like it was awesome! Conference was an amazing experience for each person who participated and especially for Mandy! She is now really working towards baptism and we are going to do all we can to help her! We then went and contacted some people the bishop wanted us to see and then ended the night at the Pitt's house so that Sister Searle could have her departing interview. :( Sad day! I love Sister Searle! She is an amazing missonary and I'm grateful we've gotten to serve together. She leaves Thursday morning, then it will be back to Sister Larrabee and I. Thank goodness I still have her for a few more weeks!
Well, that was our week! Working hard and loving it! I love being a missionary and I love this gospel! It is true! If you have any doubts, ask God! He will answer you. He loves you and knows you by name! He is aware of your concerns, worries, and fears. He wants to help! I love this gospel and the Book of Mormon! I know are so blessed to have a living prophet on the Earth today! Follow his counsel and see the blessings waiting for you! Live true to the faith!
I love you all!
Have the best day ever!
Sister Herring