Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My beautiful and amazing familia!

Boy how I love those letters. I think the librarians must think I'm crazy as I jump up and down in excitement. I am pretty much a school girl as I read these. So fun! Thank you! So about transfers! Drum roll please.............. I'm staying in Lexington!!! With Sister Wahlin! I can't express how happy that makes me! We have many goals and plans for this transfer and the neat part is, we are getting another set of missionaries in our ward which means our area is shifting. We are now going to be working a lot in Glasgow and Natural Bridge which are tiny towns near Lexington. We have been seeing huge miracles in these areas which I will explain more in the letter. We couldn't have asked for a more exciting transfer! It is exactly what both of us were wanting. We had been trying to work in Lexington this past transfer, but we kept on being drawn to Glasgow. Now we know why! This is where we will be working! Truly we are teaching some elect people in the tiny town. (I'm not even sure it shows up on a map. :) We will still be living in Lexington, but we will drive to Glasgow each day which is about 12 miles south of Lexington. I'm so excited! Woohoo! Oh and we have a little piece of Collierstown as well. Elder Hollembeak and his companion will be in a walking area covering Lexington, and then the other set will be covering the north area of our ward. I'm so ready for this transfer! (If you can't tell.) heehee

About this week! Monday we were able to do a little shopping before going to dinner at the Relief Society President's house. We even had rootbeer floats! Memories! We then headed to Mary's house to have a brief lesson with her before walking home. (Note: We did a lot of walking this week, due to being low on miles.) :)

Tuesday: We were able to go see Brittany and teach her a little more about her relationship with God. We are working to help her simply strengthen her testimony of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. She grew up Atheist which is strange to find in Virginia. Crazy in fact! After lunch and some Mormon.org time we drove to Glasgow with Sister Mace and tried to see Jared and Jordan. They weren't home, so we tried a few other people before getting pulled over! What the?! This nice cop (the only cop in Glasgow) had pulled us over to give her a ticket for an expired ticket. When he walked up he realized that he had made a mistake and told us to have a nice day...This is where the superhero, Sister Mace, made something happen. We went and drove back to the cop asking for directions to a referral and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon! So cool! There is a reason for everything! We then were able to make contact with Jared and Jordan before heading back to Lexington. I love Siste Mace! She reminds me of a Patterson. :) She told us about her life story on the way back and how she had been in an abusive relationship for 14 years and also had a record label. She is a talented musician but chose to be a mother over fame. Wow! She is now happily married to a wonderful man and in the Stake Relief Society Presidency. She had joined the church when she was 20 and immediately went on a mission to Australia! Amazing! If you want I think you can find her music under Leslie Tucker. I'm not sure if it will show up, but it is worth a try! She said she will play for us someday. :) After she dropped us off, we went to see a man named Frank who is a member but hasn't been to church since he was baptized at 8. He is now in his 50s. We ended the night by eating dinner at the Halls. They live up in the mountains and have a beautiful cabin up there. They are salt of the earth good and made us a delicious dinner of mac and cheese, fried chicken, rolls, corn on the cob, and apple cobbler for dessert. This is a very typical meal here. One word: healthy! haha Well, maybe not, but it is delicious! We had a lesson with them and some recent converts, Mimi and Bella. A mother and daughter who I already love!

Wednesday: Miracle day! We had interviews with President Salisbury and Sister Salisbury. I love them! They were so tired, but sincerely care about each missionary. President Salisbury was very loving and said, "You've been a Sister Training Leader for a long time!" I am thinking my time is about, maybe next transfer! I guess there is still more for me to learn. Sister Wahlin and I have decided that we have this calling because we don't care about it. haha There are many sisters that for some reason think it means you are something more than you actually are, but we know the truth. It means there are things we need to learn while serving the sisters. I hope to help each sister understand this fact. We aren't better, we simply need more opportunities to learn from other sisters on exchanges and in meetings. I'm grateful for this chance to serve. During interviews we were also having a district meeting. During the meeting, the Assistants introduced the new mission goals and stayed for the rest of our meeting. Elder Hollembeak is a fantastic missionary and did something a bit startling in the teaching portion. He asked me to come up to help him in a demonstration. He then handed me a card and said that the things on the card were my objections to his commitment and that I was to read them. I began reading the card and my objections were: "I'm already married.", "I don't want to marry you.", "I don't feel like I am ready to get married right now." I began to get nervous about his demonstration when he suddenly asked, "Will you marry me?" Ahh! Every person in the room was caught off guard, including me! I think I turned every shade of red. I began to read the objections on the card and by the end everyone understood what he was trying to get across. He was trying to show how we need to invite people to baptized in a more understanding way than we are right now. Each objection I had for not getting married was the exact type people use to not get baptized. If we teach them in a caring manner and in a way to help them understand, these objections can be overcome. It was a funny moment and one that I can now cross off my list. I can now say I've been proposed to while being on a mission. haha funny times for an awkward sister missionary. :) After our meetings were over, we went to lunch at BlueDogArt Cafe and then headed to Glasgow. We went first to contact a referral for a member's brother, and we happened to find him outside! He was very friendly and apparently after we left he called his sister and said that two beautiful angels had brought God to him. So cute! We then went to go see a recent convert who hadn't been to church in months and his girlfriend answered the door. The cool thing was, she was begging us to come back in two hours when Rob would be home. We told her yes and left a Book of Mormon with her. We then went to contact another referral from Jeffrey Early and he happened to be there, with his brother! They are both trying to get into the NBA and want to have God more in their lives. We are going to see them tomorrow and begin teaching them! We then went back to Rob's and taught him and his girlfriend and it was amazing! She'd already began reading the Book of Mormon and had many great questions. She wants to know it all! Rob even said the closing prayer! So cool! We then went to the church tour before heading to teach Mary. Mary is getting baptized this Saturday at 2:00 pm. Please pray she can make it! She is wonderful and I'm so excited for her to take this step of faith. She is so humble and loving. I'm grateful both Sister Wahlin and I get to be here for it. 

Thursday: Not much happened. We did weekly planning in the morning, then went walking. When we had gotten about 2 miles away from home, a massive rain storm hit and we were soaked in seconds! We didn't want to get hit by lightning so we went on the porch of some member's home and waited it out. We then went and changed into dry clothes before heading out to work again. Crazy fun memory! 

Friday: We were able to go to Correlation, then District Leader Council, then we went to Glasgow. We tried to find one less-active man who apparently had gotten baptized at 8, had heard anti-, and doesn't want to be a part of the church anymore. It was so sad! He softened by the end of our conversation as we cleared up the fact that we don't believe in polygamy. :) And I think in the future he will come around. It is amazing how the spirit softens hearts. Each of our appointments fell through this day, but we got a lot of return appointments for tomorrow! Woohoo! We were able to see Mary, Lilian, and we also had ourselves a little picnic next to a field of cows. So fun! Sister Wahlin and I are like two peas in a pod. It is wonderful! She is so supportive and loving. I'm grateful for her.

Saturday: We were able to serve at RARA before heading to help the zone leaders and Elder Hollembeak split our area for the new missionaries coming in. It took some time, but we think we finally have it worked out! Yay! We then went and tracted near our dinner appointment and out of 3 houses, we were able to give out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and have 2 people say to come back! Yay! People are so nice to you when you are walking in 93 degree weather and 100 percent humidity. The one lady let us right in and gave us both a huge glass of ice water and sat and listened for 20 minutes. I love my mission! We then had dinner at the Hughes' house and they are wonderful. We then came home and did some painting for service to our landlord.

Sunday: Studies, church, singing at a rest home, (my favorite person there is this cute old man named Lurty. He never remembers who I am, but I adore him! Sister Wahlin and I are convinced he will accept the gospel on the other side.) We then went and saw Stella before heading to dinner at the Lee's. They are amazing! I love them! We then went and had 2 lessons. One with Michael and another with Mary. It ended up being a great day and week!

Monday: We picked some green beans for a nonmember and she ended up giving us some and also some goat meat! I can now say, I don't like goat meat. Yup....It's decided. :) Next we went and worked at the library on the area boundaries some more and then we walked...and walked...and walked. We ended up walking about 7 miles but we found some amazing people and although we were worn out, each step was worth it! We went to dinner at Sister Christy's house and her 5 daughters. She made us nachos from scratch and then we taught Mary! We are trying to see her daily so that she can feel completely at peace about her baptism. She is simply nervous about going under water. She said she washes her hair in the sink, so this will be huge for her. But she is so ready! I love her!

Today we get to drive to Lynchburg and get our car fixed. Apparently there are 2 recalls on it and so we are going to make a day of it and go to Olive Garden for lunch with the other sisters! Fun times! 

I am so glad everyone had such a fantastic 24th of July! Kody's band! So cool! It sounds like everyone was there! If you want to send pictures (anyone) please do! I've been telling my companion all about the events and a play-by-play of what happens in good ole' SJ during the 24th and I've convinced her to come visit next summer! So fun! She is excited too! 

Mom, I'm glad you are okay. I'm sorry that the car is having to get worked on, but I'm so grateful you weren't t-boned! Ahh! Jack! Happy 13th Birthday you old man! I'm excited for you! You are now officially a teenager and from what I hear, a very good dancer! :) News travel fast in Virginia! 

I hope you are all doing wonderfully. Remember how much you are loved! Remember that this church is true! Remember to read your scriptures, pray, go to church! Do those small and simple things daily. You will see and feel your relationship grow with your Heavenly Father each time you do! I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to feel my testimony grow daily. This church is true! 

I love you!

Sister Herring

Picture 1 - Yes we caught a lightning bug that was sitting on our car!
Picture 2 - Stuck on the porch during the rainstorm. :)

Ready to paint the bathroom!

The view from the porch

Walking in the rain!

Picnic time!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anna Herring

Attachments12:22 PM (22 minutes ago)
to meErinAndrewkelceyherring

My how time flies!

What a week?! Where to begin? ...The beginning!

Monday - We had a great P-Day, then got invited to dinner at one of our recent convert homes. They are solid! Tanja and Scott! She has terminal cancer and Scott is a loving husband. Well, during dinner, she brought up all this anti- that she had heard. She said it was all over lds.org which was not true and that it was shaking her testimony, but we had to validate her concerns while helping her realize the truth. It was a very stressful dinner, but the spirit was felt throughout. I completely felt guided by the spirit in everything! Wow! I know that in the moments when we don't think we can do it, but still open our mouths is when the spirit takes over and helps us do more than we could on our own. I have a firmer testimony in the gospel through this experience. It all boils down to the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true, it all is! People are not perfect, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is. Thank goodness! I'm so grateful for a knowledge of this gospel. It is what strengthened me throughout this week! (It really wasn't that bad, I promise!) We also met with Mary and had a great lesson.

Tuesday - We had a fantastic day! We had Sister Mace come with us to a lesson with Jared and Jordan. The two brothers we met last week. They are awesome! They asked great questions and Sister Mace, who served a mission in Australia and is a convert, was phenomenal! The spirit was so strong and both Jared and Jordan committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! They are not looking to convert, yet, but definitely will someday! We then went to the Pink Cadillac for dinner and it was a blast! It is an old diner decorated with everything Elvis. I mean EVERYTHING! Wow. We then went to a lesson with Robbie and Kathy and Kathy definitely opened up. It was amazing! She usually is just nice to the missionaries, but as we shared a scripture about what happens to us after we die, she got teary-eyed and said, "I needed that, I lost 2 siblings last year." We then committed her to read Alma 40 and 41. It was so powerful! My experience with Frankie has been huge in helping me relate to people who have lost loved ones. I know that I have help beyond my capability in this work. We then went and saw Lilian for a split second before heading to another area to tract. It was a great day and very rewarding to see the light in people as they learned more of their Savior.

Wednesday - We went to try to contact a referral named Ruth Ann Herring! There are apparently many Herring's out here! So cool! I still have yet to meet one, but I'm looking! There is even a Herring's car shop in Buena Vista! We then went to go try some people and met many friendly people who weren't quite ready to accept the gospel. We ran into 2 separate atheists which is rare in this mission and I just have to ask Kortlynn and Rex and Chandon. What have you seen helps when talking to atheists?! Totally different than what I'm used to! It makes me realize just how different each of our missions are! Also, Kortlynn, do you deal with the Hindu religion? I have no idea about that either! But we are meeting a few. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Or Buddhism? Wow. So many religions! The church is true! Next we went to dinner before heading to the church tour. We had 3 people come! The church tour is starting to grow and we are seeing great success from this. We ended the night teaching Mary with her new visiting teacher, (she hasn't even been baptized yet) I love it! Sister Skinner is her visiting teacher and picture Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables. It is her! I love it! She talks, acts, and looks exactly like her! Wow!

Thursday - Exchange day! We did our weekly planning in an hour, then drove to Lynchburg. We ate at Panera Bread (one of my favorites), I got my Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich and we were on our way back! Sister Christensen (who's first name is also, Anna) came with me and we got to work in Lexington. Sister Christensen has had an interesting transfer. She is one of the best missionaries and is with an interesting companion. She loves her, but she was excited for this exchange. We went and saw this cute 81 year old who is preparing to go to the temple, then we went and saw an old investigator who is still not ready. Sister Christensen had been serving in Lexington the transfer before me. We met this super nice Catholic priest who said he would take us to lunch, before heading to dinner at the Larsens. They are an amazing family and Rindy! Their daughter had Barta as a mentor while she was studying theater at BYU! So cool to make that connection. She was there years before you, but it still made my day. They made us a Cafe Rio type dish, yum! We ended the night seeing Mary and then Gloria and it turned out to be a great day! We were able to find a few potential investigators and get appointments set up with each!

Friday - We had a few plans fall through, but then Sister Christensen remembered someone named Desmond who lived close so we went to go try him. He was outside fixing his car and so we had the perfect opportunity to talk! He asked some great questions answered by the Plan of Salvation so we set up a time to come back and teach him! He is great! This is where the miracle happened. On our way back to Lynchburg to exchange back, we got a text from a girl named Brittany Fix. Apparently, she had met with missionaries in April and the week of her baptism, she backed out. She texted us and asked if we could help her get baptized. Um....Yes!!!! Hallelujah chorus! We met with her and she is amazing! She's read the entire Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, and is 20 years old. I already love her. She still has some doubts, but knows this is what she needs to do. We are going to meet with her tomorrow and hopefully clear up her concerns. She is wonderful! After we exchanged back, we went and taught Brittany before heading to a lesson at Michael's. He was a guy we met on Thursday who had told us to come back. We began teaching him and he had some great questions. He is not looking to convert, yet, but has great potential. There are a lot of people who have been turned off to religion because of past experiences, but when they find the truth, they act! I think he is one of those types. Ooh and he let us hold his Boa Snake!! Wow! Where was my camera? :) I've done things I'd never thought I'd do on this mission, but I love each experience! We then saw Mary for a second before heading home.

Saturday - Shows me that there must be opposition in all things. Friday was a miraculous and an unbelievable day! Wow! Then Saturday came...Yuck! I don't want to repeat this day. :) I loved the opportunity to experience opposition so that I could appreciate Friday more, but I think one Saturday is okay for the entire mission. We did service first at the food pantry which is always nice before heading to the District Leader Council. This was all wonderful! We then went and tried to see people for 4 hours with each one falling through and dropping us! Michelle included! She said that she'd been avoiding us because she was not ready to be baptized. We tried to assure her that there was no pressure and this was up to her. We hope that she will still continue to meet with us and see that there is more to learn. She said she'd call (missionary talk for not a chance), but we have hope that she will! We then were able to eat a wonderful dinner at our landlords and ended the night at the county fair running a family history booth. I loved it! It was wonderful! So I guess...We had a sandwich. It started wonderful, it ended wonderful, the middle was a bit rocky. :) Okay, looking back, not too bad! Wow! I just had revelation while writing this email home! In the moment, hard times can seem never-ending and the worst experience of our lives, but then looking back you see, it wasn't too bad! You are still alive, the church is still true, and there is still something to smile about! Like lightning bugs! Or Panera sandwiches! Isn't life wonderful? Wow! We are going to try this week having the sisters pause everytime they have to do something hard and ask, "What good thing is happening because of this?" or, "What blessing did we see because of this?" I think it will help them count their blessings and find joy in the journey rather than the mentality of: after this transfer, or after this companion. That mindset will get you nowhere! Find joy in the journey! That is what it is all about! Wow I love email insights! And that is how revelation works. :)

Sunday - I love Sundays. They are the best! We went to church where we were able to partake of the Sacrament, then we drove to Buena Vista because one of the sisters was having kidney stones. She needed some things and was in a lot of pain. Heavenly Father blessed us with an amazing week so we could help the sisters. Thank goodness! He is always mindful of us and provides a way to overcome every challenge. We then had dinner at the Lee's home. I love them! Their home is one that Robert E. Lee would visit often. It is gorgeous! We then ended the night by helping another set of sisters who was struggling. I'm grateful for this chance to serve the sisters and learn from them. I'm grateful for my companionship with Sister Wahlin. We have had zero arguments and the one time we had to discuss something, the spirit was present throughout! I'm so grateful for each of my companions. I have been blessed with the best! But, the truth is, any companion can be the best if each one is dedicated to the work. There is my marriage advice for the day. :)

Well, my time is up, but next week is transfers, so I'll be writing on Tuesday! I hope you all have the best week ever! I love you! The church is true! I'm praying Sister Wahlin and I have one more transfer together. That would be the best!

Sister Herring

Picture 1 - Stonewall Jackson cemetery!
Picture 2 - Don't ask me why there are lemons in front of his tomb.

Again, amazing!
Country roads!
The fair!

This is where I serve!
Don't fall in!

Picture 1 - Dinner at the Pink Cadillac!
Picture 2 - It was so cute!

Anna Herring

Attachments11:19 AM (19 minutes ago)
to meAndrewErin
Picture 1 - Yes, we are happy while in the cemetery.
Picture 2 - There he is! Stonewall! Isn't it gorgeous?!

Anna Herring

Attachments11:19 AM (12 minutes ago)
to meErinAndrew
Picture 1- We got to work a booth at the fair!
Picture 2 - Nasty spider/cricket in our house! Ahh!

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Anna Herring

10:34 AM (1 hour ago)
to meErinAndrew
My beautiful, wonderful, and amazing family!

Kim! I hope you had a great birthday! 30 right? ;) So fun! Rex! You are 20 now!!! When did that happen?! My companion is 20! Rex, I hope it is the best birthday on the planet! Know that you are loved and prayed for daily! You are amazing and such a great example to me! Keep up the great work!

On Monday night, we ended going to our dinner appointment and the sweet mother had made us a pizza from scratch! It was amazing! Right when we walked in she asked if either of us was allergic to anything and when we replied "No," she went to work! She put olives, artichoke hearts (I thought of you, Mom), peppers, cucumbers, cheese, mushrooms, and I think the kitchen sink on this pizza, but it was amazing! I've definitely become less picky while on my mission. Oh and the meat she used was bison! Yup, I can now say I've eaten buffalo. Wow! It was pretty good! We then ran to our lesson with Mary and Marsha and they both want to be baptized on August 2nd! Woohoo! It was wonderful! This ward is amazing and already has Visiting Teachers assigned to Mary. I'm so impressed.

Tuesday, We went on exchanges with the Rockbridge sisters and so I got to be with Sister Combs again in Lexington! I served around her while I was in Charleston, so it was a treat to be with her again. She is my mission granddaughter! Sister Kitto trained her. So she must be great, right? haha We had a miracle day. I was so nervous about leading the area, but it all worked out! First of all, we went to do some service and were picking grapes and pulling weeds for a potential investigator, then we went to try and visit some investigators. They weren't home, and as back-up I had planned to do some tracting in the area, but as soon as we got there, I didn't feel like that was where we needed to tract. I had a place pop in my mind which was close to our next appointment, so we headed over. Just a side note, I had informed Sister Combs that people can sometimes be a bit rude in this area, and that they were a bit sick of missionaries. We then began walking down the street and this African American young man begins walking toward us. We stopped him and he was very open! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said to stop by his families' house to help them get back to church. Cool part is, he just back from playing professional basketball in Puerto Rico, and is heading to England. He is wanting to eventually play for the NBA! He told us to look him up on Facebook when he gets home and he would get us tickets. Way cool! When he does go pro, I can say I gave him a Book of Mormon! haha His name is Jeffrey Early. I'd like to know how valid that conversation was. ;) We then went down the street knocking doors and a few didn't answer, but then we knocked on one and these two younger guys came out. Jared and Jordan. Brothers! They were both very religious and interested in learning more! We have a lesson scheduled for tomorrow with them. I'm excited to teach them! One is studying at the Baptist university, Liberty. Crazy! So at this point, I was expecting anything! Our next appointment fell through so we went to see a recent convert and she gave us a referral to see her brother. On our way to contact him we found the coolest house! It has been transformed into a 40's store! With old cars parked out front and vending machines from that time period. I took a picture, but it doesn't do it justice. We hope to go back and get a tour soon. We then saw this man walking on the side of the road and stopped to talk to him. One hour later, he was telling us to come back and had his own copy of the Book of Mormon! I'm telling you, drive by inviting people to learn is the best! His name is Irvine Donnelly and is into restoring old cars. Dad, you would love him! He got excited when I told him my dad watches the car shows. He even pulled out a magazine with one of the cars in it that he built! So cool! The things you find in the backwoods of Virginia. :) We went to Kenney's for dinner, then stopped to visit Preston before heading home.

Wednesday, We got to see a few more miracles as we visited this lady we had helped move. She told us to come back and she loves us now! Wow! We are hoping to get the chance to teach her soon. We even ran into her today as we were walking into the library and she once again said to stop by anytime. We then stopped by one investigator before exchanging back and she opened up to us about her concerns which we were able to resolve! So neat! After the exchange, Sister Wahlin was a bit tired. Exchanges wear you out, even though they are very beneficial. Well, we were able to see a few people before going to the church tour, then ended the night by teaching Mary and Marsha once again. They are progressing well. Michelle is another one we saw and she is doing great! Michelle is a 2nd grade teacher with 2 boys. One son is down-syndrome and autistic and the other son reminds me of the 5-year-old version of Chris Farley. Whenever we leave he yells, "Goodbye my loves!" haha I love them! Michelle has grown up hearing a bunch of anti- but for some reason is feeling drawn to the church this time. She is praying about baptism, but is taking it slow. She wants to do it for the right reasons. We are praying she receives a spiritual witness. 

Thursday, we were able to go meet the mission president officially and it was wonderful! We even got to decorate his car with sticky notes (pictures attached). We then went on yet another exchange with the Lynchburg 3 sisters. Sister Shreeve came to Lexington with me. She is related to the Mullenaux's. The ones in SJ. She looks just like them! :) Well, we had an interesting day. We went to go visit a less-active family and on the way there passed by a B&B named "Herring Hall". We had to stop! There was a man mowing the lawn and said that the owner of the home is named "Anne Herring". Odd? It was weird hearing my name. She wasn't home sadly, so we will have to go back another time. We weren't able to find the less-active's home, so we went to go visit this man in the ward who had begging us for a while to visit. His wife has dementia and so she can't make it to church. We had a quick visit with him before heading to our lesson with Robbie. His son joined the church and he has many great questions. We are going to begin teaching him! Woohoo! We then went to dinner before ending the night with a little tracting. 

Friday morning we went to correlation, then to District Leader Council, before exchanging back. We ate lunch at a place called "Cook Out' (they have the best shakes). We then drove back and got to weekly planning. We were able to meet with Mary and Marsha and planned on teaching them the law of Chastity. Every other time I've taught this, it has turned out great! It is always a little awkward, but usually by the time we teach this, they have a testimony of the gospel and know that this commandment is from God. Well, we began teaching and Marsha got a bit fired up. She ended up walking out of the lesson, and we were very concerned that we had done something wrong. There had been no arguing, simply sharing the message and her emotions escalated quickly. Mary told us not to worry, and that she would talk to her. Apparently she is living with someone and doesn't think it is necessary to get married. The thing is, we don't think anything less of her, we still love her and know this will bless her life. I'm so grateful for my testimony of this gospel! Neat thing is, Mary and Marsha were both at church on Sunday and Marsha must have had the spirit work on her because she didn't even mention it. So all is well, she must have just needed to work through some things. No worries! We then went to dinner before doing a bit of tracting. I love being a missionary!

Saturday we were able to do some service at RARA or the food bank and of course our friend Bob got us a few of the treats that were left over. He always hides a few desserts for us. He is hilarious! We then went to the library for some Mormon.org time, then the rest of the day it seemed that each plan fell through. It was crazy! We visited one family and then it was time for dinner. We decided to order some Papa Johns to celebrate the day. ;) We then went and picked up Michelle and took her to the baptism of Jaki. We wanted Michelle to see what a baptism was like and she loved it! Michelle's husband, Mike, has a ton of his family that is Mormon, so he is not against it, truly she is just wanting to make sure this is the right thing to do. It was a great night!

Sunday, I went to church! Can you believe it? heehee I love Sundays! We went to our meetings, where Mary and Marsha came! Yay! We then had some lunch before heading to visit some people. Once again, our plans were not clicking! It was a bit frustrating, but we had some tender mercies along the way; including some goats, sunsets, and lightning bugs. (Pictures included) We were able to visit Barbara and Lillian and their cute grand daughter Nicole. Nicole is Barabara's granddaughter and Lillian's great-granddaughter. Confusing I know. Well, we ended the night tracting and stopped by the Lee's house and they fed us Peanut Butter squares. As you can see from all the treats I've had this week, I've decided no more sugar for me! Except at member's homes. I can't eat unhealthy anymore! 

Well, as you can see, it has been a great week! I survived 2 exchanges, mosquitoes, and so much more! Oh, I forgot to mention, there are a few bugs out here. My legs are not too badly eaten alive, but a few bugs have had me for dinner. :) 

I love being a missionary. Have I said that before? I get to wake up each morning with the possibility of finding and teaching one of my Heavenly Father's elect children. I get to serve the people in Lexington, Virginia, and talk about my belief all day! Mom, I have to tell you about a cool experience I had yesterday. As we were teaching Barbara and Lillian, Nicole was getting a bit antsy. She always calms down when we sing children's hymns and so we decided to teach the lesson through the primary hymns. We began with "I'm a Child of God" and then my mind immediately went to "Families Can Be Together Forever". I was wondering how I was able to recall exact hymns that went along with the order of the lesson when I thought back to the lullaby's you used to sing to us. Mom, you were teaching us about the gospel! I told my companion and she was in awe of what a wonderful mother I've been blessed with. Of course I went on to finish singing the remaining songs to my companion in our apartment and she got a good laugh. I just smiled with happy memories. I am so blessed! I love my family! I hear about some missionaries with 0 support at home and my heart aches for them. I'm so grateful for each of you! I love each of you and pray for you by name.

I'm so grateful for my testimony of this gospel. It has become my prized possession. I know that this gospel is true! I know there is a living prophet on the earth today! I know my family is eternal and that as we live the gospel each day, we can get through any trial and gain the strength to help those around us. Truly the secret to missionary work is forgetting yourself. Thank you for each example and for all the love you give me! I know my Savior lives! I know that he suffered the Atonement for each of us individually. He knows how to help us as we turn our concerns over to Him. I love this gospel!

I hope you all are excited for this coming week! We get to be missionaries all day! Member missionaries and full-time missionaries! Yippee!!!

Have a fantastic week! Remember you are loved!
Sister Herring

Picture 1 - The home that has been remodeled to an old gas station
Picture 2 - President's car with Elder Hansen. We did good work huh?

Picture 1 - President Salisbury, Sister Salisbury, their daughter Breanna and another missionary, Elder Fotofili
Picture 2 - The goat incident, yes he did try to eat my hair.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

Hello on this beautiful Monday morning!

What a week! We've had our ups and downs, but throughout it all, I still love being a missionary!

Monday night we did a lot of walking! We were trying to find new investigators and we ended up finding a few potentials and doing a bit of walking. I love it!

Tuesday, we woke up at 3 am and drove to Roanoke where we picked up Sisters Richards and Canova. We then drove to Charleston and had an amazing meeting with President and Sister Salisbury and their daughter Breanna. They are absolutely amazing and I already love them! They are different than President and Sister Pitt, but they are necessary for the mission at this time. I can't wait to actually meet them on Thursday when they come down south for a mission tour. President Salisbury did a great job teaching about the Form of missionary work and the Essence of missionary work and how we need to have a bit of both to have missionary work a part of who we are. We can't simply go through the motions, but our hearts must be behind it. I loved it! He has such great enthusiasm! So fun! We then drove back after the meeting and went out to dinner with some other missionaries before returning home by 10. Long day!! But worth it.

Wednesday we went and planned the zone meeting with the zone leaders. They are great! Elders Degooyer and Blakely really want to help this mission be its best. It is a blessing to serve around them. We are over two zones of sisters, so we sadly don't get to help much in the other zone other than do exchanges and call the sisters. We hope this helps! They have great zone leaders in Lynchburg though and I know they are doing great things there. We then were able to go see some new investigators named Lori and Joe. They are awesome and have met with missionaries before. What was cool is that we had prayed specifically to find this couple and Heavenly Father placed them in our path! We are excited to teach them. We also were able to see a recent convert and share a message with them. We did some tracting and ended the night by doing the church tour. During the tour though we had a massive storm hit and nobody was able to come. When it rains here, it rains! Holy moly! It felt like a hurricane! So exciting! Luckily we felt very safe in the church. Ooh and one of the other elders in the ward got a terrible case of poison oak. Not fun!

Thursday - 1 year mark! - We did our weekly planning, had lunch, then tried to see a lot of people. Nothing seemed to be working, but then a miracle happened. We were driving down the road and almost ran over a snapping turtle. We pulled over to help it across and of course take pictures when this cute little man drove by. He talked to us for a second then I turned to Sister Wahlin and told her we had to teach him! We had no idea where to find him though, so we headed to our next destination. We then happened to pass by him sitting on his porch! Wow! We began teaching him and he said we could come back. We are going to see him tonight. He also gave us a referral for a neighbor who might like to meet us. We drove down and two of the daughters walked out. Then the mother came out with her Bible. This is where the fun happens. I saw her flip open to a few verses in the Bible with the words "ask a Mormon" written next to them. As a missionary this is your first warning sign that this person wants to bash. But it was amazing! As I heard her reading the verses, this overwhelming peace came over both Sister Wahlin and I and we were able to answer her questions without bashing and totally by testimony. The scripture came to my mind that says by simple means you may confound the wise, (or something like that), and I know that we were guided by the spirit. Truly, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is true! When you bare simple testimony and are able to answer silly questions by the scriptures, a person can't argue and the spirit is felt. It was an amazing experience!

Friday - We were able to go to our zone meeting which turned out great! We then went and had a quick bite at DQ before heading to see Michelle. She is our top investigator and is amazing! She is so ready to be baptized, just waiting for her to have a spiritual confirmation of the truth. She is going to be the next General RS president and is such a wonderful woman. Satan is working hard on her to keep her from the truth, but she is stronger than that! We are excited for her.We then went to the Bishop's house for a BBQ or as they call it here, a cook-out. It was yummy! We then went and mowed the grass for this cute older lady in the ward who is very similar to Frankie! It was almost freaky at times! But it was a great way to spend the 4th of July! We didn't see any fireworks, but we saw plenty of lightning bugs and heard the fireworks and that was enough! :) 

On Saturday we visited with a man in the ward named Olin Bare. He played the Banjo for us and it was awesome! I videotaped it and will send home the USB with the video on it. I'm going to start sending home videos on my USB and when you get them, Mom, you can put them on the blog, or on the computer and then send the USB back and I will reload it! Would that work?

We then went and contacted some referrals and were able to find a cute family to possibly teach and another investigator! It was amazing! We then ended the night by talking to this young man on his porch who was nearly drunk, but going through a major trial. His dad has cancer and is dying. We were able to share a brief message with him and he invited us back for when he was sober. He said he loves Mormons and would love answers to some of the questions he has. We are excited to teach him and bless his life with the knowledge of the restored gospel.

Sunday we had a marvelous church meeting. I love Sundays! I love going to sacrament meeting and feeling the spirit there. I also have come to have a deep love of relief society! I am so grateful to be involved with such a great organization! We then went and taught a lady named Anne Marie about agency and how we can choose to be happy in our circumstances. We then got to eat dinner with Michelle and she once again proved to us just how ready she is to be baptized. She is so close! Oh and Mary called us and wants to meet tonight as well! We hopefully will be able to help her make her baptism date. We were also able to contact another referral. What a wonderfully busy Sunday! I love fast Sundays. The spirit is always so strong and we can receive answers to those questions which may be on our minds.

I'm so grateful for this restored gospel. I know it is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that we have a prophet on the earth today who is led by God. I know that as we listen and follow the prophet we are blessed and truly happy. It breaks my heart when I meet people who don't have this belief. They are happy, but not as happy as they could be. One man told me that I had a pretend happiness and it hit me how truly this gospel has blessed my life. To be blessed means to be happy in any circumstance. I am not just simply happy, but I have the kind of happiness that will last eternally! How wonderful this gospel truly is! 

Well, I hope you all had a great 4th of July! Dad, I'm glad you got your Mona Page cake, save me some! heehee jk.

Kim, it's your birthday this week! I hope it is the best ever! Even better than last year! :) Thank you for being such an amazing sister-in-law! I'm so blessed to call you sister! You are such a great example to me and thank you for all your love and support. You are wonderful!

Sister Herring 

P.S. Everyone get ready for the 24th! It is going to be amazing I hear! ;) Love you all!