My family all decided to write me on the same week! I love it! I got a letter from just about each sibling! That has never happened my entire mission! I'm not looking for pity, just wanting you to know it made my day! You all sound wonderful and due to time, I won't be able to write lengthy letters to each of you, but I will write a little something. ;)
So this week has been interesting! Mary wasn't able to get baptized yesterday because she got a virus which they think is pneumonia. She is actually really sick, but she still plans on being baptized as soon as she is well. Stinkin' satan! Mary is very ready to be baptized though and we are excited for her.
We've been working on finding this week and we had a couple great experiences with this effort. We had a referral from a member for a lady in a wheelchair and when we went to contact her, she said she wants to take it slow but is interested in attending church soon. We are going to follow-up and hopefully begin teaching her. We decided to stay and work in her area though for a little bit and while we were there we knocked on the door of a man named Sunil. He asked us for a Book of Mormon and said that he was very interested in attending with his wife and daughter! We are going back on Saturday to begin teaching him and his family. We are excited! We also knocked on the door to a man named Keith. He is in his 20s and currently considers himself non-denominational. The neatest part was, when we began sharing our message with him he said, "I just finished reading a book about the religious history of Abraham Lincoln and I know it is not coincidence that you knocked on my door today." It was so neat! He wants to talk to his wife about meeting, but said we could come back on Saturday and they should be home. He lives 3 doors down from Sunil! We are so excited!
Other than that, this area is a bit different than Charleston. People are very set in their religious beliefs and have heard a bunch of anti-. It is frustrating at times, but it just makes it that much more rewarding when you find someone with a soft heart! There are prepared people out there! We just have to find them! I know with the help of our Heavenly Father, we can do this! It may require a little more effort, but it is worth it! I told Sister Wahlin that the people here must be so elect that satan felt he should really work on getting them away from the church. Good thing our team is stronger! :) I am so grateful for the strength I receive daily from prayers, and all the support! I know I could not do this without my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and each of you! I love feeling the spirit every day and being able to rely on that to know what to do and say.
On Friday, we drove to Lynchburg to do a mini-exchange with the 2 sets of sisters there. We went with one set in the morning and the other in the evening. We were grateful we did it. It helped us know what goals to set for our sisters and how to help them this transfer. I love this opportunity to serve the sisters here because it helps me grow more than I would on my own. I know it is for me that I am serving here and around these sisters. I learn so much from each of them!
Let me share a little more about this area. We have lightning bugs, people riding around in carriages, Magnolia trees with gorgeous white flowers, a million bed-and-breakfast inns, lilies, and so many other beautiful things. I love it! One neat thing I'm not sure I mentioned last week is that the church does a weekly church tour every Wednesday night. I got to go this week and it was wonderful! It answered many questions and the spirit was felt throughout. Bishop Huntsman is a great man and very inspired.
Thursday was Sister Wahlin's 20th birthday! We went and got some ice cream from the local ice cream shop during lunch. It was so much fun! We then had cake at our dinner appointment and we were pretty stuffed by the end of the night.
On Saturday mornings we work at a place called RARA which is a food bank. We get to help those in need get food and the cute little old man who works there always saves us some treats. He is hilarious! He is catholic and told us to stay away from catholics. Our response is: "We just baptized 5!" haha He is funny. Saturday night we always eat at the Hendersons. They were both baptized in December and are amazing! They are planning on being sealed this December. The hard thing is, the wife has terminal cancer and so she is going to chemo every 2 months and her goal is to make it to the temple. They are both so excited! They made a Chinese dinner for us and she always goes all out for us! They are wonderful!
There are the highlights for the week! I'm excited to meet President Salisbury tomorrow at MLC. We are waking up at 3 then driving to Roanoke to meet up with the sisters there, then we drive to Charleston. I'm so excited! It will be a great experience to be at the first MLC with the new mission president. He is on fire and ready to go! So are we!
I want you all to know that I love you so much! I'm so grateful to be serving right now and for each experience. I love the hard moments just as much as the good! I love growing! I love learning! I know this time is short, but I'm so grateful that I had the chance to serve. Chandon, Rex, and Kortlynn keep up the great work! You are all great examples to me! Thank you for all the prayers, letters, and support! Keep on being amazing!
Mom, thank you for the package with pictures! They are perfect! The yard looks great! Good job dad! Speaking of dad, this week you're turning 47 right? heehee Look for a fun surprise in the mail. I found it and couldn't resist. Happy Birthday!!! Hope it is as wonderful as you are!
Again, I love you all! Keep on strengthening your testimony daily. You will be surprised at what you can do when you have the spirit more in your life and the confidence you feel when you know how much your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love and know you! The Atonement is real. This gospel is true! The priesthood is the power of God on the earth! I'm so grateful for it! Oh and crazy, I'm hitting my year mark this week. Yikes!
P.S. Prepare for pictures! :)
Picture 1 - Leaving transfers. That is the white van I got to ride down in!
Picture 2 - Saying goodbye to Sister Pitt! I love these women!
Before I begin, I have a question for the Welch's. What the heck is Mason doing in Peru?! When did that happen?! Dad wrote a paragraph about Mason heading to Peru to build schools? I need information! Also, Brigham is going to Nauvoo?! I have a companion who is serving there! Tell him to look for a Sister Searle! She is awesome! :) She was only in our mission for a couple months but is back in Nauvoo. And Happy Anniversary Bridget and Jared! :)
I'm so glad that everyone is keeping busy this summer! It sounds like you are all having a blast! I'm now in Lexington, VA and loving it! Holy cow! I feel like I have found heaven!
On Wednesday, I went to the transfers meeting to see President Pitt and Sister Pitt for the last time. The new mission president will be here by the end of the week. Crazy! I was chosen to bare my testimony to the missionaries about the experience with Frankie. I was a bit surprised they asked me, but they told me to make it positive. :) I hope it went well. We then got into the vans and began our drive down south. I am good friends with one of the van drivers so he allowed me to have shotgun! It was a fun drive! The other van broke down on the way and so we ended up being an hour behind schedule, but we made it! I got to drive down with Sister Kitto, Combs, and Elders Hansen and Stechnij! It was a blast! These missionaries are some of my favorites and I look forward to the fact that I will get to see them at meetings. Elder Stechnij is from Gilbert! So fun! We made our way south and at about 8 pm, I drove into Lexington. Our church building looks just like one in Gilbert, Arizona. I walked up and felt like I was out West! Crazy! It is gorgeous and only 2 minutes from our home. We live in a member's basement. Ooh our new address is:
17 Link Road (Basement)
Lexington, VA 24450
It is smaller than my last apartment, but cute! Sister Wahlin (pronounced Wahl-een) is awesome! I keep on waiting to get a hard companion, but I've been blessed with the best! I've wanted to serve with her since we were in the MTC and now I get to! I feel so blessed! Maybe I'm the hard companion. haha Sister Wahlin is from Riverton, UT and is almost 20! This week! She is a hard worker and very excited about the work. She reminds me of Hannah Platt! :) So fun!
I'm so excited to be serving here! There is so much history! We live 5 seconds away from the graveyard where Stonewall Jackson is buried, about 15 minutes away from Natural Bridge, and there is a home here where one of the members live that Robert E. Lee always stayed in. They are gorgeous! Wrap-around porches, huge yards, deer, lightning bugs, and spacious fields of green! I have taken many pictures which I will attach.
Now for the fun part! We have a baptism coming up this Saturday! They have been teaching her and she had her interview and will be baptized! Her name is Mary Southers. She has such a strong testimony and is a sweetheart. She bore her testimony to us and the spirit was so strong. Our district leader said he pictures her being the Matron of a temple. Just a good person! Speaking of district leader, my new district leader is Garrett Hollembeak! He is amazing! I couldn't have picked a better one! Tell Brother Hollembeak that he should be proud of his son. Sister Wahlin and I are amazed by his insights and his caring nature. He is helping us be the best missionaries and is such a hard worker. Truly this mission is blessed to have him. We've decided he will be an apostle or general authority someday. Good guy!
We are also teaching a few other people who are progressing towards baptism. Great people! As I get to know them more, I will write you more, but for now just know life is good!
This area is a lot different from my last area. This is a smaller town, has had missionaries many years, and is so close to SVU so they all think this is part of our curriculum. I'm not going to SVU!!! :) But, we just have to find new ways of finding. This may sound weird, but I feel like I was meant to come here! Each person I meet reminds me of someone from home, or I feel like I've met them before! It is odd! I love it! I feel like I'm home! It has rained everyday since I've been here, and my hair is getting bigger and bigger, but I love it! Oh and let's just say, I think the norm is 100% humidity. Wow! We felt it our first day as we raked up hay for a member in the ward. :)
Fun story: We went up to this little house in the mountains to teach a lesson and the little girl was handing me what I thought was a fake lizard, until it moved in my hand! Good thing I can handle lizards! I then got to hold a pet rat at another home! I love the wildlife here! It is everywhere!
Goodness I'm excited for this transfer. I'm excited for the adventures, the experiences, and for all I still get to learn. Sister Wahlin and I are going to work our hardest and try to help this mission become its best. We want President Salisbury to know he's coming to the best mission in the world! (Sorry Kortlynn, Chandon, and Rex) :) I can't wait to meet him! I'm going to miss President Pitt terribly, but I look forward to seeing him again someday! He said he will be in Gilbert visiting his family, and I might be able to see him there. He is a great man and has left his mark on this mission. I will be forever grateful to have served with him and his sweet wife in this mission.
I want you all to know that I have a testimony of the Atonement. I know that our Savior truly did die for each of us and not only that, but He also suffered each pain, temptation, and trial. He understands exactly how we feel and is the only one that can help us overcome our struggles. He knows how to help and as we turn to Him, we will find relief! I know this is His church! I know that this is the only true church on the earth today. I know that through priesthood ordinances we can live with our Heavenly Father again. I'm so grateful for the power of the priesthood and for worthy priesthood holders who fulfill their responsibilities and duties in the church. I know we have a prophet on the earth today! We are truly blessed to live during this day!
I hope you have the most wonderful week! Remember someone in Virginia loves you! :) Keep up the good work and enjoy the beautiful summer! Offer to go to lessons with the missionaries, feed them, pray for them! ;) They will be forever grateful for you and so will your Heavenly Father!
Love, Sister Herring
Picture 1 - Sister Wahlin and I!
Picture 2 - An old church house in the middle of the mountains (this was where the original saints met)
Ahh! I left my camera in the car! I will send a bunch of pictures next week! These were from Sister Wahlin's camera. ;)
You sure do look great! :) Are you ready to hear about transfers?! Drum roll please.............I'm being transferred! After 7 and a half beautiful months in Charleston, I'm being transferred! I'm now heading south! I'm going to be serving with another sister who came out with me in Lexington, Virginia! Woohoo! President Pitt called us yesterday and said that I was needed to help the sisters in the South! I'm flattered! I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing, but I know with Heavenly Father's help I can do this! I get to serve with Sister Wahlin! Yay! She is an amazing missionary and I feel so blessed to have served with the best missionaries in the mission! The neat part is, I will still get to come once a month to MLC (mission leader council) and see my old area and companions! Sister Kitto got called to be a Sister Training Leader again too! So I will be seeing Sister Snow and Kitto each month! I love my life! Another fun part about being transferred is there is an elder that has been in the same zone as me from the start of my mission. His name is Elder Hansen. He was my first zone leader, then when I got transferred, he became an Assistant, and now he is the zone leader of the same zone as me! It is fun to have a familiar face everywhere you go! He is a great missionary and all of us are coming in to help this area become the best in the mission! haha or at least try! :) We all leave tomorrow morning and I drive for about 4 hours to the south part of the mission and get to get to work there! I'm so excited! I'm going to miss Charleston, but I know it is time for a change. This area needs new ideas and methods for finding and teaching.
This week has been exciting! We realized that our investigators weren't progressing because we weren't pushing them to progress. We weren't helping them set a goal of baptism to help them have a goal to work towards. Monday morning we decided to make a date for baptism a goal for each investigator (or at least those who were progressing). We went Monday night to see a man named Martin. He is an amazing man! We taught him about the restoration of the gospel while the rain was pouring on his tin roof (it was a bit noisy), but towards the end, the rain began to subside and we were able to have a spiritual lesson and he is going to work to be baptized on August 3rd. He said, "I grew up Baptist, and I've done all the research I could, which didn't last long, then I started researching Catholicism and I didn't want to go farther in that, but everything I've heard about the Mormon belief feels and sounds right!" Hallelujah! I was so happy! He's been researching on his own and he says he can tell the difference between the anti- and the truth. He is going to ride his super-fast motorcycle to church next week! Sweet! He is such an awesome 70 year old man! :)
We then went to teach a few less-active people later in the week and one of our former investigators came out and wanted us to stop by. She had dropped us a couple months back because she didn't feel like she needed to quit smoking or drinking coffee. Well, she said that she had been praying and Heavenly Father told her that she needed to go back to where He had led her in the first place. She says she knows that she can give up those substances by July 4th and wants to be baptized on the 20th of July! Whoa! We weren't planning on this, but it was exciting!
We then went to teach a part-member family where the wife has been praying her husband would make it to church. We've been teaching them the past couple weeks and the husband said he wants to come to church! We then invited him to be baptized and he said that he would work towards August 10th to be baptized! He really wants to make these steps and set the example for his son! Wow! The wife was tearing up and she said she knew this would happen someday.
Miracles are happening! We told Heavenly Father that we wanted to help our investigators progress, and He helped them in ways we didn't know were possible! I truly do nothing in this mission! All I do is strive to be obedient, which helps me increase my faith that Heavenly Father will help, and go out and talk to everyone! He puts prepared people in our path! I know there are rough moments, we've had plenty of those! Those moments when you wonder if you are even making a difference, but then you have a tender mercy or a small miracle and then those difficult moments seem less daunting.
For example, last night as we were laying in bed, we started talking about one of our investigators who was struggling a bit, and then we looked up and saw a flash of light on our ceiling! What the?! It flashed a few times and then we realized, there was a lightning bug in our room! Or as you might know it, a firefly!!! These are one of my favorite things about West Virginia! Sister Snow and I popped out of bed and grabbed some Tupperware to catch the surprise guest! We were so excited! Only in West Virginia would you have a lightning bug fly into your room! It was truly a tender mercy!
Another tender mercy came from a sweet member whose daughter sells the "Origami Owl" jewelry. I told her I loved her bracelet and so she bought me one! Holy cow! It is beautiful! She told me she would buy me one if I paid for the little trinkets that go inside, so I bought 3 trinkets and she bought me a bracelet! So nice! I'll attach a picture.
Funny story. This week I did something to me foot. (Wow! I guess I'm Irish! haha) I have no idea what happened but it was a bit swollen above the toe. It was hilarious! My foot looked like a baby's foot! It is better now, just a little tender. I was a bit worried it was a stress fracture, but it is healing. :) I was still able to walk so I knew it was going to be okay.
Other than that, this week has been great! Again I'm sad to be leaving this wonderful area, but I'm excited to head to Lexington and to learn from Sister Wahlin! I will post my address next week!
I love you all so much! I hope all you men had fantastic Father's Days! You deserve it! Chandon! You are going to love Washington, D.C. I'll be the closest family member to you! heehee Be jealous!
I want you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel. I love serving the Lord and sharing the gospel with each person. I love the people of West Virginia. They are the most Christlike people and truly want to do what is right! I admire my fellow missionaries in Russia and Japan. I don't know how you do it, but I know you can with the help of our Heavenly Father! Our Savior has experienced EVERYTHING which means we can know that He understands how we feel and that He will help us overcome all things! As we rely on Him, He can give us strength and support throughout each day.
I know the restored gospel is on the Earth today and that the power of God is on the earth today. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's only true church on the earth! I know the Book of Mormon is true! I know prayers are answered! Share the gospel! Everyone needs this hopeful and truthful message! Our family is eternal! :)
Have the best week of your life!
Picture 1 - The one on the right was not swollen :)
Picture 2 - Isn't it beautiful? I bought a CTR symbol, a pineapple (which means frienship), and a Sister trinket. I love it!
Picture 3 - We caught our lightning bug! We may or may not have named her, Evangeline! ;)
Just in case you didn't know, this church is true! I can't express how amazing the past week has been! Truly! First of all, Frankie is going to be baptized! More importantly, she doesn't have to wait a year!!! I'll explain. :)
Monday started off slow, simply looking for new people. We were bound and determined to have a better week. :)
Tuesday, we were able to teach this cute 83 year old named Corrinne. She seems 60. She is spunky and loves us! She didn't believe in Christ or any life after death when we first met her, but we had a faith-building experience with her and she is beginning to come around! She had been trying to get a man to come move a fallen-tree out of her yard for weeks and during the opening prayer, I prayed that he would come. As soon as I said, "Amen" he pulled up outside. She was in shock! What was even better was, she told us to come back after he left, so we decided to go work in her neighborhood for a bit and as we walked outside, there was a mother with 2 kids who had a flat tire. We immediately went to help her and she seemed a bit stressed. We were able to help her (thank you dad for teaching me how to change a tire), and we found a member on the street who was able to help drive her to her next appointment. She was so grateful and we are going to try to follow-up with her this week. We then had a great lesson with Corrinne and then Jane. Jane has taken the lessons before, but is more determined this time. We then drove to a lesson near where Frankie's daughter lives and decided after the lesson to go try and find Hattie (Frankie's daughter). After 2 and a half hours of knocking on doors and trying to find her we finally had success! It was worth the wait! She walked out the door, gave us a hug, and said that she had had a rough week. She said it was an accident that her husband had hung up on us (he thought we were telemarketers). We gave her the notes from the sisters in the Relief Society and she expressed how much her mother loved our church. We explained a little on temple work and she gladly signed the paper! She gave us her permission! Then, she invited us to her house and allowed us to share some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. She said we could come back anytime! She loves us! Prayers truly are answered! We gave her our phone number and told her to call us if she needed help with anything.
On Wednesday, we got a call from Hattie asking for help to move her mother's things out of the apartment. We gladly went and she called us her "guardian angels". She is such a sweet lady! I love her! She also said that the scriptures we shared really helped her! Yay! I know Frankie is involved in this work. We then had a couple other lessons and were welcomed home by a massive rain storm! I mean we were soaked! Wow!
Thursday, Sister Snow and I had the great opportunity to teach a portion of the specialized training. This meeting was extremely helpful! Really long, but amazing! It was our last one with President Pitt. :( But I am excited to meet the new mission president. The meeting started with President Pitt introducing the theme, then we taught about planning, the assistants taught about how to begin lessons, president pitt then taught about the lesson portion, and the zone leaders taught about commitments and following up. They showed us start to finish what was necessary. We then ended the meeting with a testimony meeting. Wow! Talk about feeling the spirit! I love being on a mission! We also told President Pitt that we got permission and so he began calling Salt Lake to find out the information on what should be done about Frankie.
After the specialized training, we went on exchange with the Ripley sisters. I went with Sister Larrabee (my old companion) and Sister Snow went with Sister Freeland (her old companion). It was a neat exchange. We found 2 new investigators, had a few spirit-filled lessons and I've decided my legacy I want to leave behind. :) One of my favorite things to do is to pull the car over to talk to people who may be on the side of the road and to invite them to learn about the gospel. It is rather exciting! Obviously we do it when there are no cars behind us. It always is an adventure and I figure we are already awkward missionaries, might as well enjoy it! :) Well, while I was in Ripley we pulled over 2 times to invite someone to learn and both said that they would be interested in learning more! Both had had connections with the church in the past and were willing to learn! So neat! I love it! Best drive by ever! :) How many times have you ever been stopped on the street and told a message about the restored gospel? I'm sure never, right? Maybe you will be lucky enough someday. heehee
On Friday we exchanged back and it turned out to be another wonderful day! I got a letter in the mail from someone I had invited to learn in Bedford when I'd been there on a day exchange. She told me that although right now she was not able to take the lessons, that she appreciated me talking to her in the library that day and for the sisters who began teaching her. Holy cow! I met this woman about 9 months ago! All I did was ask her if I could show her a video in the library and she said that she needed that. The missionaries began teaching her and she was on date for June 4th, but was unable to make that date due to her father's health. It sounds like she would continue learning in the future. I know she will! You never know what one encounter in the church will do to someone's interest. We taught a few lessons on Friday and the spirit was so strong! We ended the night by seeing Sarah. She usually is not very focused during the lessons, but Friday night she had her highlighter and pen out taking notes! She is beginning to see how this gospel will bless her life! It was neat to see the growth in her testimony.
Saturday was an interesting day. We had a couple lessons planned and one of them ended up getting some anti- information and said that was an answer to his prayer. Yuck! It made me want to cuss! But of course I don't do that! :) Stinkin' satan! We talked to him and he is still going to read more from the Book of Mormon. Of course any of the anti-information is always a complete joke! He tried to tell us and I almost laughed out loud that he was willing to believe the information he found rather than what we were teaching him (which is the truth!). We then came home for lunch and a cool down and as we walked outside this Muslim man decided he wanted to bash. We try to avoid these situations as much as possible and very lovingly bore our testimonies. After an hour, peace was restored and we were on our way! Oooh...I also got a nice sunburn on my neck, I'll send pictures. :) We then contacted a few referrals but ultimately decided to go contact that mother that had the flat tire from earlier in the week. She wasn't home, but her neighbors were and this cute couple are very interested in learning! They had met missionaries in the past and the wife said, "I was just about to read the Book of Mormon again." Huh? That was the best thing to hear ever! No bashing, no anti-, simply seeking truth! I love them! They are the cutest older couple and we will be seeing them this week!
Sunday we drove with Lisa to church! :) Yay! We then had a wonderful meeting and after church the ward had a potluck and musical fireside. Both were great! We ended the day by trying to contact a potential investigator named Martin. He has met missionaries before but after researching on his own, he has become extremely interested in the church! He is going to try to come this Sunday. Dad, you'd like him. He's got the world's fastest model of motor bike and he owns 25 guns. Very cool guy! Oh did I mention, he's in his 70s? :) I already love him! It was a great lesson on his back porch as the lightning bugs were going crazy! I love evenings!
Now are you ready for the verdict on what's happening with Frankie? President Pitt called Salt Lake and because Frankie had already been baptized, and we have permission, we won't need to wait a year! As soon as we get the information to Salt Lake, her work can be done! The best part of the news is they said that one of our families can do the work! Because I had worked with Frankie the most, Sister Snow said my family could do it! You know what that means? You get to help me do my missionary work! We still have to get through all the hoops, but Mom! Will you be the one to do Frankie's baptism and confirmation? :) It would mean the world to me! You get to be a missionary from home! ;)
Now isn't that neat? Never thought this would happen on my mission, but I'm grateful for this amazing opportunity. We are talking once in a lifetime!
Well, that was my week! Other than, this morning, Sister Snow's grandparents (who live in Buena Vista) came up and took us out to lunch at Olive Garden! Her grandpa is best friends with Elder Holland and used to be a mission president. It was a neat lunch. We even ran into President Pitt!
I want you to know how much my testimony of the restored gospel has grown throughout the past few months. I'm so grateful for the atonement. I know that my Savior lives. I know that through the atonement, we can overcome all things. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we have a prophet on the earth today! I know that prayers are answered. I love being a missionary and sharing this gospel with each person!
Thank you for each of your examples to me. I love you all tremendously!
Chandon! You are going to rock the MTC and DC! :) Be obedient, love the people and the work, and go forth with faith! Love you! Can't wait to read your emails! ;)
Dad, Happy Father's Day! Thank you for all you've taught me! I wouldn't be who I am today without you!
Rhett, Jared, Adam, and Lane! Thank you for loving my sisters. Thank you for being the best brothers-in-law in the world and for all you do each day! Thank you for honoring your priesthood!
Mike and Matt! Thank you for being great fathers, worthy priesthood holders, and just simply amazing men!
I love you all!
P.S. Transfers are next week :( So I won't be emailing until Tuesday.
Picture 1 - Yup, an hour long conversation turned into this lovely mark.
Picture 2 - My cute companion with her grandparents.
P.S. This week we saw 4 kids selling hot lemonade and koolaid for 50 cents a cup. They hadn't had any business (as this was in a lower income part of town) and so I ran to the car and got 4 gold dollars that the car wash had given me. I ran back and gave them each a gold dollar. That was the best $4 I've ever spent! 50 cent cup of hot koolaid = priceless :) These kids went screaming to their parents and neighbors that they had gold dollars! I think they were more excited than when Charlie found the golden ticket. I love being a missionary. Have I said that before?! heehee Best day ever! Love you all!
I've loved reading the emails about Chandon going through the temple, about graduation, and all the other exciting things going on now that it is summer! I love summer except for the fact that now when we knock on doors, most people are "too busy" or "leaving on vacation" so they can't listen or learn about the gospel. Hmm...let's think about this....Eternal salvation or a pool? haha But we still do meet those gems who know that they are missing something in their lives, or want answers, it is just a bit of a road block. Summer really helps lead us to those who truly want to know the truth! If someone wants to take time out of their vacation to learn about the restored gospel, they are elect! :)
So this week is what I have now named a "determining week". The kind of week that includes a few trials that are there to help determine who you are becoming, and will become.
Monday night, we had not been able to contact Frankie and so we were a bit worried about her. We got her daughter's name off her baptismal record and went to the phone book to contact her. When we called her daughter, she explained that she had been worried about Frankie as well and asked if we thought if she should go check on her. We said, "yes" and then waited to hear back.
Tuesday we were able to attend an amazing MLC with President Pitt and all the other leadership of the mission. This was President Pitt's last MLC so it was a tear-jerker. We ended the meeting by singing the "As Sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman" medley which put each person in tears by the end. President Pitt then said the closing prayer and was accompanied by a chorus of sniffles. He then went around and shook each hand with a tender remark for each person. It was amazing! We then began lunch, but I went to go check the phone and saw a few missed phone calls from a woman who lives in Frankie's building. I listened to the voice mail and was in shock to find that Frankie had died. They found Frankie Monday night in her apartment.
Frances Sue Williams, at the age of 68, passed away in her sleep. She was to receive the Holy Ghost Sunday morning and was excited about this. This shocking phone call put Sister Snow and I into a sort of daze. We went home and immediately went to pray. We were in separate rooms, but when we came back together, we both had our scriptures turned to Alma 40-41. Without speaking to each other, we had both turned to the scriptures to find peace. It was a bonding and growing experience for both of us. We then ended the day by teaching the Plan of Salvation to a sweet lady. This was another tender mercy. We were able to make it through and it reassured us that Heavenly Father has a perfect plan and was aware of us. I know Frankie is at peace and that she had truly done all she could. It makes me think of the Parable of the Talents.
We then went the next day to the mission office where President Pitt called Salt Lake to find out what needed to be done about Frankie. He's never had this happen while he's been mission president. In fact, when he called Salt Lake, they had to do some research. This is not common. I'm grateful it happened to me. It truly has made me a stronger person and closer to my Heavenly Father than I've ever felt. I had to rely on Him throughout this experience. President Pitt gave Sister Snow and I each a blessing and I can't express how amazing this experience was. I know the priesthood truly is the power of God on earth. It provided the peace I was searching for and I was able to get back to work the remainder of the week.
We are now going to focus on finding Frankie's daughter, getting her permission, and hopefully bringing her peace by sharing our knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan. I know Frankie will be there every step of the way. I want you all to know that I know this is the restored gospel on the earth. I know we have the power and authority from God to perform sacred ordinances and to make covenants with God that will bind us to Him forever! Our family is forever! I know that I will see Frankie again and I'm so grateful that she now gets to see her two daughters. What a joyous reunion!
Oh, also, on Sunday, we passed around sheets of paper to each woman who knew Frankie. Her daughter didn't have funeral service because she is the only surviving relative of Frankie and didn't think she knew anyone. She did! Frankie made an impact on the ward. We will be taking these notes with us when we go to contact her daughter.
The rest of the week flew by! We were able to teach a lady named Lisa Young who is married to a member. She came to church on Sunday and plans to come back! She is wonderful! She is taking the lessons slowly, but I know she has the desire to know if this message is true and I know that she will find an answer. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers each prayer. He is aware of us! I love his gospel! I love being a missionary!
Sister Dorsey bore her testimony on Sunday in church, and it was simple but absolutely perfect! She is such an amazing lady and I am still so grateful that I had the opportunity to teach her and see her baptized. She is so strong in her testimony now and is a huge asset to the ward and family. I hope to be able to come back and see her go through the temple next year with her husband! Yay!
The ward is now joking about how they think I should become a permanent part of the ward. Brother Cotrell said I could move in with their family and teach out here (no worries, I'm not planning on it). I love this ward and the people in it! They are my family away from my family! It will be hard to leave, but I am grateful for the friendships that have been formed! I truly have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve here. I love this area!
Well, I hope this wasn't too much of a downer. I want you to know that I am doing great! I have the best companion, the best area, the best week planned, and I have the gospel! We are so blessed! Even though we all may face challenges, there is a way out of them! We need to simply rely on our Heavenly Father! Turn to Him for help, focus on the gospel, study about the Atonement of our Savior. He did in fact suffer and die for each of us so that we wouldn't have to. Each of us goes through trials, but with Him, we can make it through. Even death is not the end...because of Him! (Yes, I did see that amazing video). :)
I love you all so much! Remember that! I hope you have an amazing week! Keep up the good work wherever you are!