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 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?

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