Monday, August 25, 2014

Dear family o' mine,

What an exciting week! I hope this email finds you all healthy, happy, and safe! Mike, I hope you are not sick from your ice challenge. I expect videos from Stephanie, Trace, Cody, and Jared! haha 

Good news! We don't have bed bugs! Hallelujah! We called President Salisbury by command from the zone leaders and he said to try using bug spray and to give it some time to see if it actually was bed bugs and so we went forth with faith that it wasn't, and even though I still think it was, we are bed bug free now! We continued to spray the bug poison around the apartment and I used bug spray and we now have not had any new bed bug bites! The one day I used bug spray though, I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. Yikes! My legs look like I have leprosy, but that's okay, they are healing!

Oh and before I begin, please keep my companion in your prayers. Her grandpa is very sick and she is very close to him, so she could use a few extra prayers for support. Thank you for your love and support!

Monday: One of the investigators in the ward's mother passed away and so on Monday night we went to her house to see if there was anything we could do to help. She has a wonderful family for support and through it all has not missed a Sunday. She is amazing and will be baptized in 2 weeks! The elders are teaching her and she is simply wonderful! I'm so excited for this step she will take, and I'm also grateful that she knows where to turn to for support. We then went to dinner at the community table, a free dinner put on for the community each Monday night, and did some volunteer work. We had gone in the first place to meet up with Kirby, and after having a great discussion with her, we were able to help clean up. A bunch of students from SVU came to help clean up so we were surrounded by Mormons! That was not normal! I loved it!

Tuesday: We went by to see Mary at the hospital. Her grandmother, who raised her, is quite ill and so she is staying by her side. Mary had brought her scriptures and Personal Progress with her so that she could work on it during the blood transfusions. Dorothy, her grandmother, had to do 3. We then went and contacted a referral for this adorable 98 year old woman. She told us to come back anytime. She is a Seventh-day Adventist. After lunch, we went to see Lilian and had a great lesson with her before heading over to Jared and Jordan. We taught them with the elders who are in the YSA so that they could take over teaching them. We had an emergency call from the bishop during their lesson to help come and move a new family in, so we ran over to help the family. They have 4 daughters and are adorable! The husband just got out of dental school and this is his first job. Very exciting! We then got caught in a major rainstorm and luckily we were only half a mile from home, so we came home to dry off and have dinner. It was a crazy day!

Wednesday: We stopped by the library to work on the program for the concert on Friday before heading to meet another referral. They were a super nice Catholic couple, but not interested in learning more, yet. :) They also said to come back whenever. We then had lunch with Sister Sampson. She made us delicious enchiladas and watermelon for dessert! Mom, you would have loved it! :) She is a sweetheart and we are working to help her eventually get to the temple. We then went to the funeral for Rebecca's mother and let me tell you. I have now been to 2 funerals in the last 2 weeks, one being at the church, and this one being in the funeral home, and there IS a difference! Each person felt uplifted and hopeful when leaving the funeral at the church, while the one conducted by a preacher at a funeral home was quite depressing! The funeral included some Bluegrass music and a sermon and that was it. I'm so grateful for my knowledge of our Heavenly Father's plan. It gives me great hope and peace for the future! After the funeral, we went and saw Stephanie in Glasgow. She was not doing well and found out that she was being evicted in 5 days. She had found a job though and was simply needing a place to live and transportation, that's it! We taught her about our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She didn't quite believe in Jesus Christ, so we focused on that. We then set up a return appointment for the next day. We then headed home for a quick dinner before heading to the church tour. Connie came again, and she ended the night by working on some family history! She loves the spirit she feels while at church! It is a such a peaceful place to be and to spend a few hours each week. I love it!

Thursday: We did our lovely weekly planning before heading to see Linda. She is that cute older lady who loves the Book of Mormon. She ended up not being home, so we went to do some tracting. We met a lot of nice people and many seeds were planted. We then tried Stephanie, but she was still asleep. Sad day! But she has our phone number and we hope that someday when she is ready, we can begin teaching her again! We then went and saw Connie and had a great restoration lesson before heading to dinner at Chick-Fil-A in Lynchburg! Yup, we drove to Lynchburg for exchanges. :) I had the opportunity to stay in Lynchburg this time with Sister Crossley. She is actually one of the missionaries who called me to welcome me to the mission! So cool! She only has one more transfer, so I was grateful to have this chance to serve with her even for a day. Sister Freeland came to Lexington with Sister Wahlin. Thursday night we did some service for a less-active member in the Lynchburg ward. I got to clean the bathroom! ;)

Friday: While on exchanges we did a lot of tracting, contacting potential investigators, and teaching less-active members. We even went tracting on Sleep Hollow Lane! Oooh...Scary! haha Every person we met knew a Mormon or was related to one! It was so cool! We met these 2 young men who seemed very interested in learning more! We then exchanged back Friday night.

Saturday: We went to help out with the Rockbridge County Festival in Lexington. We set up a Family History booth and turned out to be a great success! We were able to meet with many people and there are now about 15 planning on coming to the family history center. Yay! We were also able to work at RARA for a bit and then we met with Mary. She was able to come home from the hospital and Dorothy was doing much better! Apparently, if these blood transfusions didn't work, she would need to get a bone marrow transplant! Crazy! After seeing Mary we went and practice singing with the Elders. We were asked by the bishop to sing in church about a month before. :) Procrastination! We then went and had dinner at the Pink Cadillac on our way out to Glasgow. We were able to see Rob for a bit and set up an appointment for Sunday.

Sunday: I sang in church! Ahh! Elder Wright, Gibson, and Sister Wahlin and I sang the song, "How Will They Know" on page 182 of the Children's Hymnbook. It turned out better than I planned! I was nervous, but Heavenly Father sure helps us out on the mission. ;) Sacrament meeting was absolutely amazing! We had a cute old lady named June Newberry, give a talk. June has an interesting story. Apparently she grew up Jehovah Witness and then converted to the church. She then had an accident which erased her memory and she completely forgot she had joined! One day she was in her house and found a Book of Mormon and slowly her memory began to come back. She realized she was a member, and now years later, she was able to go through the temple! She is so cute! Brother Hughes, one of my favorites, also spoke about his family joining the church. His dad was Agnostic and someone at work gave him a Book of Mormon. While reading he completely gave up drinking and wanted to know which church believed in the Book of Mormon. Finally he found out and immediately he was baptized. His wife soon followed, then her mom, and the entire family. Brother Hughes and his 4 brothers and his son served missions, and all this from 1 Book of Mormon! So cool! I love it! After church we were able to go see Lori and Joe for a brief second before doing some tracting. We met a Southern Baptist Preacher's son and had a great 45 minutes conversation with him answering his questions. He loved it! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would talk to his dad about meeting with us. We even invited his dad! That is so not like me! Fun times! We will see what happens. We then had the best phone call! Rob, who had been baptized in December and had quickly gone inactive, called us and told us that he wants to get his life in order! He wasn't home, but we have a lesson with him tonight with the Bishop! Yay! Rob is awesome and we are excited to help him know that he is not lost, we all mistakes, but the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real! We can all repent and have the blessings of the gospel again! We then went and had a lesson with Steve Markham and his wife, Teresa. Steve is a member, but his wife is not. They are both involved with the Pentecostal church, but secretly we think Steve wants to come back. We are going to begin stopping by! We had dinner with Sister Christy and her 5 daughters before heading to the church for a lesson with Michael! (Yes, I am teaching many people with my sibling's names haha I'm waiting to meet an Orinda. ;)). But, we were able to meet with Michael and handed him off to the elders also to begin teaching. Yes, we are losing many of our investigators to the YSA Elders, but that just means we get to find more! ;) Yay!

Now for the exciting things! Last week, I mentioned how Willie and Karen's trailer burned down, well they are in the process of buying a new on and the ward has gone over every day to help clean up. There is also a supply drive going on in the community and church to get them new furniture and everything they need! We did a special fast for them, and they are going to be okay! The cool thing was that apparently, right after the trailer burned down, Sister Campbell, who is the visiting teaching coordinator, called the Relief Society President saying, "Our home just burned down, so I'm going to need a new copy of the visiting teaching routes. Thank you!" Can you say amazing?! Even when they don't have anything but their truck and clothes on their back, they are thinking of others! At church on Sunday, Sister Campbell came up to us and said that they were wanting us to come by their daughters house so they could give us some biscuits (Willie's famous biscuits). Can you believe it?! Neither can I! Salt of the earth good! 

I've also been wanting to write a few more of the neat things about Lexington:
1. When you walk into stores, they give you warm apple cider.
2. There are carriage rides through town.
3. When it pours!
4. Willie's Biscuits :)
5. Opal Wallace's cakes :)
6. The Glasgow cop who helped direct traffic at the Rockbridge Community Festival.
7. Oh, and Brother Hughes took a picture of us at the Festival for the Ward's Facebook page. I think it is called "Friends of the Lexington Ward" I'm not quite sure, but maybe check that out! 

I'm going to try to add a few of these things each week. Good times! 

I want each of you to know how much I love you! I want you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel. While at church, the bishop, who had been one of the first ones on the scene of the Campbell's fire, pulled out what he had found at the house. A page from the Book of Mormon had been lying in the debris. He began reading the words, "I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me..." As bishop was reading over these words from the burnt piece of paper, it hit me more than ever that Joseph Smith truly is the Lord's prophet in these Latter-days. He did have the first vision and the fullness of the gospel is on the earth today. We have a living prophet. He leads and guides the church today. He acts under the direction of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church restored today! We have the fullness of the gospel! We have the Book of Mormon! We have an eternal family and temple and the priesthood! We are truly blessed to be living today! I'm so grateful for this knowledge and I'm grateful for the chance to share it daily! I know there is power in the Book of Mormon! Read it! Study it! Ponder and Pray about it! You will receive an answer. 

I invite each of you to pray for someone to invite to church, to an activity, to meet with the missionaries, to read the Book of Mormon! It doesn't need to be big, just a simple invitation. What's the worst that can happen, they say NO? :) Pray for the strength. Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return home. It is our job to help. :) 

Thank you for all the missionary work each of you are doing! Thank you for your examples, that alone is missionary work! Thank you for your continued love and support! Each of you is amazing! Just like I said in the beginning, I'm grateful to call you mine! 

Have the best week ever!

Sister Herring

Picture 1 - The Campbell's home. :(
Picture 2- The street we tracted :)

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