Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Good afternoon!

Crazy to think, I'm currently writing this email from President Pitt's desk! The library is closed, but being so close to the mission office, Sister Snow and I received permission to email today. Thank goodness! I hate having to take time out of normal missionary days to email. I love emailing, but it is nice to have it on one day of the week.

This week has been full of highs and lows! (No worries, way more highs than lows) :) Let's start with the lows so that you can see how much good happened!

Sister Dorsey, Lisa, and Frankie didn't show up to church. That was a little disheartening when they were all three expected to come. No worries though, if we didn't have the hard times, we wouldn't have the highs! We are going to focus really hard on helping them get back to activity especially so that Frankie can receive the Holy Ghost! It was cute though, the bishop came up to me after church and asked how I was doing. I guess I seemed a bit worried according to my facial expressions, but as soon as I told him what was on my mind, he smiled and said, "Oh! You are a great missionary!" That calmed my nerves a bunch! He's not worried, then that means, everything will be okay! :)

See? Not too bad of a week! 

Now let's get to the good part! We had some huge miracles at 8:50 every night! It seemed like each night we would be left with about 10 minutes left to figure out something to do and every night, without fail, we would meet someone who was prepared and either give them a Book of Mormon, set up a return appointment, or have a great discussion. For example, one night we were walking around and we decided to go down this dark street when we saw some guys playing basketball (This is the same court we go exercise on each morning). We formulated a plan and I walked up saying, "Have you seen a sweater? We come running here in the morning, and I think I left it!" So, I know it is not good to lie, but on the spot, this was the best we could do. Of course, the sweater was not there, so we got to talking about the gospel. This is when another teenager came up to play basketball and after talking to him about the Book of Mormon, he accepted a copy and was really interested in reading! It was so neat! P.S. We don't usually go walking down dark streets or talk to groups of guys. :) We are very safe, but when the spirit prompts you, you act!

We also found some amazing people to teach this week. One lady, Corrinne, had lost faith that she would see her husband again, but as the missionaries (I was on exchanges) taught her, her faith began to be rekindled and she is now feeling the spirit testify to her that she has found the truth! Yay! Another man, named Randy Easter, was a bit hesitant about listening, but as we taught, he asked, "What is the difference between my church (the Church of God) and yours?" We began teaching him about the restoration of the gospel and he scooted up and said, "You've sparked my interest girls." Yay! The spirit testifying is so amazing! I love it!

Most amazing story of the day for you! We had received a referral from the assistants and it was for a Part-member family. We went to contact the father named Mike Young. This is where the miracle happened. He wasn't home! But his wife was! She let us right in and told us that she had been begging her husband to tell her more about his church. She'd been raised protestant, and is very interested in learning more. They live right by the church in Charleston (which is currently under construction) and so they hadn't been able to attend even though they wanted to! We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she asked us to come back! She then came on Sunday with her husband!!! Yay! Her husband is an awesome guy. I think they just didn't know where to go to church! They'd been living in that house for 2 years and I've even knocked on it before, but they had never been invited! I'm so grateful for that referral that helped us find them! I'm so grateful they are going to be able to learn about this message together! We will be meeting with Mike and Lisa Young on Saturday!

We got to help with something called the VanDalia (a West Virginian festival). It was filled with Bluegrass music, food, and West Virginians! So fun! We passed out strawberry shortcake and met a lot of great people! West Virginia is known for having a lot of festivals during the summer. Any excuse to gather with friends and eat! :) I love it!

We also had an amazing zone conference on Thursday and we learned so much about the blessings which are promised to missionaries. So neat! We then went on exchanges with the Teays Valley sisters and so I got to go serve with Sister Combs and Sister Simmons. We were able to work hard and found a new investigator! Sister Kitto came to South Hills with Sister Snow and they were able to put Jolena and Tiffany on date for June 29th! I most likely will not be here for the baptism, but I'm so excited for them! What a miracle! I love being a missionary!

Overall, a fantastic week! This coming week, we will be having Mission Leader Council, 2 zone meetings (one with each zone) and so we are going to work hard during the time we actually have to do missionary work. I want to leave this area better than I found it! I want the next sister that comes in to have about 5 baptisms planned! :) Wouldn't that be wonderful?!

The most important lesson that I've learned on the mission is that I can't do any of it..on my own! Truly, the only thing I'm to do is to live worthy of the spirit by being exactly obedient, and have faith that Heavenly Father will fulfill His promises, then the spirit does the rest! Whenever I begin to rely upon myself, that is when I get frustrated, tired, and the miracles cease. Fully rely on our Heavenly Father, then even on the bad days, you can know that you are doing all you can and you will feel successful! I'm not perfect, not even close, but I'm striving to learn from my mistakes daily. I am constantly using the atonement (even more than my investigators) and I know that Heavenly Father is supporting me through it all. He is forgiving, loving, and has provided a way for us to overcome our mistakes and trials. I'm so grateful for my Savior who provided a way for me to improve and to get closer to my Heavenly Father daily. There are hard moments, but those pass! It makes me think of the quote on our wall at home that says, "This too shall pass." It truly will! The good moments and the bad all pass! It is how we handle each of those moments that gives us the strength to do more!

Well, I'm off to another week in the field! Remember that I pray for each of you daily! I love you all and I want you to know I couldn't do this without your love and support! I love this work and I love this gospel! I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of each of us! He loves us! He wants us to succeed! 

Have the best day ever! Have the best birthday Alysia! I love you!!!

Love,
Sister Herring

Sorry no pictures this week! I didn't even pull out my camera! Next week, I'll repent! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

These signs are everywhere! But I've never seen one where the kid is wearing a sombrero!

The beautiful Capitol building!
 

 
We may not have sunsets, but this was beautiful!

"What's missing in ch ch? UR!" hahaha We giggled. Each church has their own board with cute sayings. This was a good one.
 

 
Family!!!

What a beautiful week!

Frances Sue Williams was baptized yesterday after church! She is amazing! I'm so happy for her decision to follow Jesus Christ. Each person felt the spirit so strongly during her baptism. I'm so grateful for her example and to have had the opportunity to teach her. One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is watching the person come up out of the water and being there to hug them with a towel as they walk up the steps. That is when they feel the spirit testify to them of the love that our Heavenly Father has for them and that He is pleased with their decision to come unto Him. I was able to hold Frankie as she began crying as the spirit testified to her of the right decision that she made. I too cried with her and felt the spirit testify to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. We truly can be made whole through our Savior. He suffered so we would not have to. He loves us and set the perfect example for us to follow. I love this gospel. I love seeing it change lives. I love each person we teach (even those who do not accept the gospel immediately). I was thinking about Frankie and how 1 year ago the missionaries found her and she said, "no" to baptism. Now, one year later, I get to be the one that saw the fruits of their labors. I wish I could contact each missionary that taught Sister Dorsey, or Frankie, or each missionary who ever thinks they didn't make a difference. I've been blessed to see the fruits, but they did plant the seed! They did pave the way and prepare this person for accepting this gospel. Each person that we talk to on the street will one day remember that encounter and the spirit they felt. There is a light about us and we are to share that with each person. Set that example to those around us! They need the gospel! They need this knowledge and the joy that it brings! This is the true church of Jesus Christ. This is the Lord's kingdom on the earth today! We have the fullness of the gospel and because of that, we will one day receive a fullness of joy with our Heavenly Father! He wants all of His children to return to Him, so we get to set the example, share the message, invite, and help each person come to a knowledge of the restored gospel.

I love being a missionary! Even on the hard days! We have those hard days so that the happy days mean so much more! We have trials so that we realize the blessings. We have storms so that we can appreciate the calm. We have winter so that we can recognize the warmth of summer. Opposition in all things so that we can experience happiness! Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect! I'm so grateful to be a part of it!

So yes, my heart is full. I can't express in writing how I feel about this work. Thank goodness it is there for everyone to be a part of! Share the gospel! Feel the joy it brings (even if they don't immediately accept it), what you do makes a difference!

This week we were able to teach Jolena and Tiffany. They are both ready to hear about the gospel. We are hopefully going to meet with them again this week and invite them to be baptized. They love the message and I know it will bless their families. They both are the mothers of 2 beautiful daughters and need this for their kids! Jolena is ready to be baptized right now, but Tiffany still has to learn a bit more before she can be baptized. I will keep you updated on them!

We also are still working on helping Mandy progress to baptism. The only thing holding her back is marriage. She told me that I could come to her baptism when I come back to visit next summer (When she is planning on getting married). No! I hate that idea! haha She needs to be baptized now! Then I can come to her temple trip next year! :) That sounds much better! Her experience though has caused me to ponder about what I would be willing to sacrifice for the gospel. Sister Snow and I had the opportunity to teach the lesson in Gospel Principles on "Sacrifice" yesterday and I've been thinking a lot about that word. The pioneers sacrificed their families, friends, earthly possessions, and even lives for this gospel! What am I willing to sacrifice? Yes, I am sacrificing 18 months of my life, but within that 18 months, am I giving it my all? It is not enough to simply serve a mission, I must serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength! This mission experience goes quickly and I don't want to have any regrets. Thank goodness, Heavenly Father is not asking us to sacrifice our lives or anything drastic. All he asks of us is a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". He wants to help us and is the only one who can, when we offer up those two things to him!

Last night we went to visit a less-active member who is the only member of her family. She got baptized last June, is 16, and her family is a bit chaotic. We walked in and her dad was completely drunk and the mother was yelling at him for being an alcoholic. He was using a few choice words but it was amazing as we began testifying of our Savior that he began to be calm. He began talking about how he wanted to be baptized and wanted to quit drinking and smoking. He turned to me and said, "You've been here for awhile and you are welcome anytime to help me!" He was practically pleading for help. His family wants the help and I know one thing. I can't help him! But, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Atonement can! All things are possible because of what our Savior did. We are going tonight to help him by sharing the message of the restored gospel. Wow! I love this work! Miracles!

Wow! Reading over my email I'm in preaching mode! :) This week has also been one with a lot of laughs and smiles as well. For example, during Frankie's interview the fire alarm of the house we were in went off. She still passed her interview, but we were giggling. She then came out and said, with arms in the air, "I'm in!" haha She is the funniest woman ever! The whole ward loves her! You never know what she will say next and she doesn't have a whisper voice. When she says anything, everyone knows what she is saying. haha But I love her!

Another funny story, during the night I dreamed that we were walking down the street and my shirt was not modest, so I turned it backwards so it would be. Well, when I woke up, I walked out and realized my PJ shirt was backwards! When I explained myself to Sister Snow, we both burst out laughing hysterically! It was a funny morning.

Ooh another cool story happened as we were walking in the rain (which was just about all week). We stopped in at the porch of one of our neighbors who was a bit tipsy. He began talking about his life experience and how he had experienced a lot of trials. We shared with him the Book of Mormon and testified of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. He was so excited to read and we are going to go back this week to teach him more.

I realize that most of the people I've mentioned have either been intoxicated or under the influence of something, but each of them has the potential for greatness. Both Sister Snow and I saw the father of the member in a white shirt and tie and clean cut. He needs the gospel! It will change his entire life! :) Sister Snow and I realized that yes, there are people out there who would be much easier to teach, but Heavenly Father has placed these people in our path because they are at low points and need the gospel! They can't do this alone and each soul is precious to our Heavenly Father.

Well, I'm so happy I got to write this email today! I'm sorry if it was a bit long, but I had to get it out on paper! I love this gospel and I sharing it! Again, there are hard days, (I don't want you to think it is all roses and daffodils), but I love the hard moments! Those are the ones that make us stretch the most! I love each lesson I learn, maybe not in the moment, but definitely by the end! :)

Can I just express how proud I am of my family?! Chandon! Madisen! Lexi! Hannah! Seth! Mason! Brigham! Steven! I love each of you! How awesome that you got to go to all the Arizona temples! I especially loved the part about how you were able to do over 300 names! Think about those people who are now as you said "a ward" in heaven! I love it! Thank you for each of your marvelous examples to me! Wow! I want to be part of that tradition when I get home! So cool!

I hope that each of you have the most wonderful week. Keep on being amazing and know that someone in West Virginia loves you! The work is being hastened and I'm grateful to be a part of it! I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Herring

P.S. Happy Birthday Brigham and Orinda!!! Hope it is the best day ever!!!
Also, next week is Memorial Day weekend, we will be emailing on Tuesday. :)
 

 

Picture 1 - Frankie!!! She got baptized!
Picture 2 - I love Frankie giggling in this pic, sorry I moved! haha

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014
Beautiful family!

Now I can express what I was trying to say through the tears yesterday. :) I'm so sorry my emotion got the better of me! I was so overcome by seeing how much the gospel has blessed my family and my life as I looked into each of your faces. You truly glow with the light of Christ. I've seen so many broken families and lives on this mission that as I looked at each of you and felt the love we share, it hit me how blessed we are to have the gospel! After we skyped, Sister Snow and I went with Sister Cotrell to teach a woman named Sarah and her two daughters. There was no peace in the home and once again the smell of smoke hung in the air. I'm so grateful that even though there were small moments growing up when we might have had small disagreements, that through those moments there was still peace in our home. We still knew we were loved and that we had someone to turn to, to help us feel happy. We knew of an eternal plan where we would live with our family forever! We have a goal that we are working towards, together! And after seeing each of you yesterday, I want that! :) We are a funny family! We are happy, loving, supportive, protective, and forgiving. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you! Phew! That was what I was trying to say! haha I hope you know how lucky we are to have such an awesome family! It is rare, but possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us all continue to work towards an eternal family. That means every person matters! We don't want one empty chair at our table. :)

This week has been interesting! We had transfers on Wednesday where I was able to get Sister Snow! Holy cow we are the same person! We have the same sense of humor, we both want to be obedient, and we want to work hard! We laugh, we work, and we get to be missionaries all day! Yippee!! I've had a few nightmares where I'm home and someone tries to take my missionary badge off. Every time I wake up, I'm so grateful I'm still on the mission! haha I know there will come a time when this is a reality, but I'm definitely not ready yet and neither is Sister Snow. We've begun waking up at 5:30 to go running and to begin our studies. Neither of us has had a companion that we could do this with in the past and so we are bit giddy. It is going to be a great transfer!

We had to drop a few people this week which was kind of a bummer, and other ones are not progressing so we will have to drop them this week, but there is faith that is shown through dropping. We have faith that Heavenly Father will place prepared people in our paths and we are showing that we value this missionary time. We want to use each moment in the best way possible and we are ready to do so!

I'm so excited for Frances Williams baptism this weekend. She is so cute and extremely ready! Please pray that she will be able to make her date. She will be a lively addition to this ward. :)

Sorry I chastised you for not sending pictures. I love getting any pictures through the email or hard copies. I know each of you have lives and are busy, so no worries! As long as I get to see some when I get home. :)

This coming week we have great plans for work! We get to teach a relief society meeting tomorrow night with the elders about missionary work, that should be fun!

Well, I'm off to work, but I love each of you! I'm so excited for all the things each of you are doing. Good luck Chandon in D.C.! You will love it! My advice once again is to be obedient, love the people, listen to your mission president, and work hard! Oh and have fun doing it! Missions are the hardest but the best thing on this earth!

I hope you know that I have a testimony of this gospel. I know that we have a prophet on this earth today who speaks and acts for our Heavenly Father. I know this is the restored church. I know the Book of Mormon is true and was translated by the power of God. I know that the priesthood is the power of God on earth, and the blessings of the priesthood, though carried by men, are available for everyone. Each person has a purpose and is valued by a loving Heavenly Father. Our Savior suffered and died for each of us so that we might overcome sin, trials, temptations, and death! Alma 7:11-13. I know my Savior lives!

Have the most wonderful week ever! Keep on being amazing.

Until next week! Happy Birthday Dallin, Trace, and Oliver! ;)

Love,
Sister Herring
Picture 1 - Sister Snow and I!

Picture 2 - My companions were leaving me!

Picture 3 - Elder Stout pose! (Don't ask me why I decided to where a long sleeve black shirt in 100% humidity) :)
 


 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Picture 1 - Our zone! Elder Stout, one of the zone leaders, got us t-shirts. :)
Picture 2 - The original 4 (Elder Hansen, Elder Stout, Sister Kitto, and me!) We were all here 6 months ago.
Picture 3 - We have too much fun
 


 
Picture 1 - Sister Morgan = Cinderella, Sister Herring = Belle
Picture 2 - I got the most amazing package from Bridget! Thank you!
Picture 3 - It's green!!! :)
 


 
Picture 1 - Blizzard of the month!
Picture 2 - Sister Larrabee and Frankie!
Picture 3 - We love her!


 
Picture 1 - Epic Picture :)
Picture 2 - Plaid jacket?
Picture 3 - Sister Morgan and I waiting for Krispy Kreme!


Picture 1 - Driving to a lesson, we noticed how green it was and decided to stop!
Picture 2 - My cute companions (Maybe don't put this on the blog) haha
 

 


Family!!!

Mother's Day is Sunday! You know what that means? I get to talk to you! The other exciting thing this week?! I'm staying in South Charleston for yet another transfer!!! I'm so excited! Never did I think I would be skyping from the exact home I skyped from at Christmas! Yay! If we can get the same set up we had last time, that would be perfect! I loved seeing all your beautiful faces and hearing all the exciting news! We get out of church at 4 which means it would be around 5 or 6 that we could skype. Which is about 3 to 4 your time. I hope that works for everyone. If not, I love you still! ;)

My new companion is going to be Sister Snow. She came out with me. She is from St. George, Utah and is a rockstar missionary! I looked up to her so much in the MTC and now I get to serve with her. Oh happy day! Sister Larrabee has recovered from her surgery almost completely (she stayed at the mission home for a few days) and now she is heading to Ripley which is about 45 minutes away. Sister Morgan is going back to Huntington and she is going to be amazing! I've been blessed with fantastic companions so far and I'm excited to see what this transfer brings. I will get to be with the mission president up to when he goes home! Thank goodness! I'm so grateful!

This week we were able to go to a billion and one meetings! Tuesday we had Mission Leader Council and at this meeting they brought in all the new leaders of the mission. It was exciting to see all the new faces and the old faces. We then spent part of Wednesday planning our zone meeting portion with the zone leaders. We were responsible for teaching about family history. (I'm so pumped to do this when I get home!) We then taught the Charleston Zone on Thursday about Family History and the Parkersburg zone on Friday! Phew! It was a rush but I'm glad it's over. Sister Morgan helped teach which was exciting! She is such a trooper! Little did she know she would have to go to all these meetings. :) I always learn so much from each! We also got to go on an exchange with the Ripley sisters and I got to see how things were going in the great tiny area of Ripley! They are doing great and I learned so much from serving a day with Sister Freeland. We met some amazing people and had a great time serving together. We also got to do some service for one of our investigators. They are an elderly couple who needed help planting flowers. When I told them I'd worked in a greenhouse and loved gardening, they said I was hired! haha They took us out to dinner to make up for it. :) Other than meetings and service, we were able to teach a few lessons and see our great neighbors. Funny story you! Last night we were walking up to our house when our drunk neighbors called to us and said hello. One of them, a 60 year old man who has nicknamed me "Blue Eyes" said, "Hey Blue Eyes! I loves you!" hahaha We giggled all the way in! Don't drink! You only embarrass yourself! haha

Sunday was stake conference and it was all about temple and family history work! Please family! Live worthy of the temple! Go often! Love it! If you live close, think of me (without one) and go for me! :) The temple is where we need to strive to be. That is the only place we can be sealed as families forever! That is where we can find peace in today's world, that is where our Heavenly Father wants us to be. We are not the only one affected by temple work. We are necessary to help our loved ones there too! We have unseen forces helping us to go and they want their work done. Goodness, this gospel is true!

I'm so grateful to be serving in Charleston. It is a beautiful area and the people are wonderful. Frankie is still preparing to be baptized, we had to move her date back to May 18th because she didn't realize she couldn't drink ANY coffee. She's given it up though and is doing great! Frank is also excited to get baptized on June 29th, although we want to move that up because he will be ready sooner. (Yes we are teaching a Frankie and a Frank, welcome to West Virginia!) We are excited for transfers tomorrow. I will be picking up Sister Snow and we will be off to work! Oh and she likes to run! Hallelujah! I can't wait to exercise better! I will have to keep up, but it will be worth it. Oh and Mike is still doing well! We are hoping to invite him and put him on date to be baptized tonight! Woohoo!

I have to tell you about the biggest compliment I received yesterday. I got a call from the assistants asking for me to come to the mission office so they could get input on how to train the sister training leaders. They said that the sisters across the mission respected me and that they needed my input on how to help them. Whoa!!! What the?! I have no idea how that happened. We better get that cleared up. :) But it was flattering. I hope to live up to their expectations and I hope I was able to help in some small way. The mission president is striving to get this mission ready for the new mission president who comes into the mission at the end of June. I can't believe President Pitt is leaving, but I know that the new mission president will be exactly what this mission needs. I'm so grateful that I was able to get to know President Pitt while serving here and the wonderful man that he is. Sister Pitt is also an amazing woman and they are great examples to me. Love them!

Well, those were the highlights of the week. I will give you more detail next Sunday! ;) Yay! I want you to know that I have a testimony of the restored gospel. I know it is true! This week I've been studying in Preach My Gospel about the atonement of Jesus Christ in our Heavenly Father's plan. I invite you to study about all that our Savior has done for us individually. He knows exactly how we feel and invites us to come unto him, so that our burdens may be light. He promises to uplift us as we turn to Him. I promise you that He does. Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect, we get to be a part of it! I know that it is through our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we will be able to overcome our trials, temptations, and weaknesses. I didn't realize all that was covered under the atonement, but I'm beginning to get a glimpse. This gospel is true, I promise you that!

I love you all,

Have the most beautiful day!
Love,
Sister Herring