Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello my cute family!

Another great day in the neighborhood! Have I told you lately that I love being a missionary?! Because I do! It truly is the most rewarding, difficult, but amazing experience I've ever had in my entire life! I've never felt so close to my Heavenly Father, and I've never seen so many daily miracles! Things are happening around us each day and sometimes we need to take a second to step back and reflect on those "tender mercies". (Thank you Stephanie!) Here is my tender mercy list/letter for the week!

First off, Wednesday after I finished writing the email for last week, we went and taught Brittany. She is struggling with her faith in Christ, but as I testified to her of what I knew to be true, it hit me how strongly I have come to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and knows me by name, and I have a Savior who suffered and died for me! What strength and power comes from this simple declaration of truth! Wow! We have so much because of the gospel! We then had a lazy rest of our preparation day before heading to teach Randy the "Stop-Chewing Program". He has already thrown out his coffee, alcohol, and he threw away his chew that night as we handed him the cinnamon gum, juice, and other items he would need to quit. He wants to get baptized on November 9th that he is fighting every urge to chew. It is the hardest thing he's ever done (he's chewed for 51 years) but he is doing it with the help of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! He is such a great example! Wow!

Thursday: Tender Mercies were everywhere! We woke up at 4:00 and went and picked up Sister Nielsen while she waited for her companion. After sleeping for a little bit (until 6:30), we were able to meet with Linda's son, Robert. He is a major alcoholic and has lost his purpose of life. He doesn't realize it, but he is searching! We are teaching and he is changing! From the first time we met him, he started changing. He has cleaned up his garage and when we teach him, he won't smoke, drink, or cuss! Wow! The spirit is so essential to this work and does change lives! He has such potential and we are working hard to help him realize his! We then had a quick lunch before heading to see Willie and Karen. They are great people and are finally back into their new trailer. It looks great! We next met with this girl named Sara, who changed her name to Serafina. She has had a very rough past and has a beautiful array of every color of hair, but now is looking for a better relationship with God. She loves the Mormon church because she feels love and the spirit around them. The lesson with her was wonderful! She is so neat! We then had a great dinner with a family in Buena Vista and visited Larry (Sister Nielsen's investigator) before heading to pick up Sister Williams. She is Sister Nielsen's new companion! Fun times! We then came home and took it easy for the rest of the night because we were both a bit sick. Shhh...don't tell Sister Nielsen. :)

Friday: Sick day...I woke up with a massive cold and Sister Tobler was extremely nauseous so we weren't able to go out, but no worries, we got our area book updated, and were able to work that evening. We went to correlation with Brother Reynolds before heading home. It wore us out sadly! No worries, I'm all better now! Tender Mercy for the day was being able to make it correlation!

Saturday: We worked at the food pantry and got to see Bob!!! I love him! He is every missionary's favorite person. :) We then has a quick lunch before heading to see Pattie. She has some great questions. We then did a lot of walking before heading to see Linda. She had been studying the Restoration pamphlet and had questions about prophets. She knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is Christ's church. She even said, "I can see the day when everyone is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" Wow! I love her! She is totally going to be baptized in December! Yay! We then visited with Robert for a bit before heading to dinner. We ended the night with a little walking and reflected once again on the amazing miracles we've been blessed to see.

Sunday: We had some wonderful hours spent at church. Randy came and said that he hasn't had coffee, chew, or alcohol all week! He also was telling people that he was getting baptized next month. :) He is so excited! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach him! We then had lunch with the Clubbs before heading to Glasgow. We did a lot of walking and talking to people but the best part was...the Cowboy Church! We got invited to go to their evening service and just picture this. The preacher was wearing a cowboy hat, boots, we began church with the pledge of allegiance, and then country songs had their words replaced with some words to a hymn and the preacher's wife sang to all 10 people there...oh wait, 12 including us. haha it was awesome! They invited us back anytime and during the sermon, the preacher kept on pointing at us and saying, "These are the Lord's servants! Spreading the good word of God! They've sacrificed to be here! We are all needed to share the word!" hahaha It was awesome! He was practically telling his congregation to listen to us! Wonderful! They gave us a copy of their Cowboy Bible which is now one of my favorite things I've gotten from the mission. I'll show it to you all someday. (Yes, I catch myself saying ya'll...I'm trying to quit). :) But it was just a fun time! The preacher's wife gave us her phone number if we ever needed anything! New friends! :) Let's teach them all! As we were walking around Glasgow we got asked on a date by this guy named Frankie....hmm...not happening, but it was a nice try. We ended the night with dinner and dessert at home where our landlord, Brother Davis, was having his cross-country team from SVU over for dessert. A bunch of young single adults who are Mormon! Yikes! I've never been so awkward! Needless to say, we didn't stay long. :) Awkward!

We are excited for this coming week and the future miracles and tender mercies that will be coming our way! What tender mercies did you see today? We get to go listen to Elder Renlund of the Seventy on Friday (Halloween) and we also get to be missionaries all day! Yay! Ooh! And I found out a lady I'd been teaching in Back Creek got baptized last weekend! Mary Henderson is now a member of the church! I"m so happy!!! Seeds planted aren't wasted! 

This week is full of birthdays! Happy Birthday Chandon!!! Happy Birthday Kortlynn!!! Happy Birthday Steven!!! I love each of you and I'm so grateful to be related to each of you! I hope your birthdays are as wonderful as you are!!! Have the best day ever!!! 

I want you all to know that I love you so much! I'm so grateful for the gospel! I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon! This morning during my studies I was giddy as I read about Zeezrom...I kept on reading and loved reading about Ammon! I love their examples to me! When Zeezrom was healed, he didn't just stand up, he leaped upon his feet! I want to do the same! Have the faith to leap! :) I hope each of you have the most wonderful week! 

Keep on being amazing!
Sister Herring

P.S. I don't know why pictures haven't been happening! I'm going to keep my camera with me all the time this week! There are going to be too many pictures to send next week! :) Sorry! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My wonderful and amazing family!!!

Yup, that's what you are!!! How are you?! I hope this email finds you safe, healthy, and happy! This week has been exciting!!! Sadly, I don't have my planner with me, so my details won't be nearly as good! :) 

Tammy!!! Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for being such a fantastic sister-in-law! You are wonderful! Let me know how the Broadway play goes! Which one do you get to see? 

We had miracles happen each day and it was so neat to see the steps those we are teaching are taking to come closer to God. Maybe, because I'm a slacker in knowing what happened each day, I'll write this week about the people. Ooh this will be fun!

First off, Randy. He is 58 and just a sweetie. Very backwoods, but super kind and wanting to get baptized. We saw him a few times and taught him about the Plan of Salvation and also the Word of Wisdom. We are meeting with him tonight to help him begin the stop-chewing program. Can I just say how grateful I am for the Word of Wisdom. I've seen so many people with massive addictions out here and it makes me grateful for the knowledge I have of the importance of a body and how to take care of it! I've seen so many lives on the mission that have been ruined due to drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. Just never start! That way you have way more freedom and families are blessed! The wonderful thing is the Atonement is real and just like these people falling into traps of addiction, the Savior has put in a ladder. It may not be easy to climb out, but it is possible! And Randy is doing it!

Next, Elizabeth is 23. She grew up Baptist and has heard every form of anti- imaginable. She is searching for truth though and we met with her this last week at the Clubb's home and taught her about temples. She is intrigued by them and loves learning! She loves the pamphlets and manuals and studies the scriptures daily. I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but she bought her own leather-bound triple combination and also fasted before coming to conference! (We hadn't even taught her fasting!) She is simply amazing! We taught her about the law of chastity and she is going to talk to her boyfriend about getting married. She is awesome! She even recognizes that God has prepared her for this time to accept the gospel. I love it!

Linda. She is in her 60s and is hilarious! She used to be a race car driver and is at a point in her life where she is looking for more. Her son struggles with major addictions and she feels that she is at her whits end. She told us yesterday that she is ready to make changes in her life and is looking for more! We invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She is ready! I love her! It was so neat because we didn't plan on teaching yesterday, but stopped by and she welcomed us in. We didn't have a lesson plan, but I kept on feeling the prompting to teach about the Holy Ghost. We began teaching and that is when she said, "I'm ready for more in my life." Ahh! Yay! 

One neat experience from last week is when we went to teach Miranda and her 3 oldest kids (she has 5) were begging us for a copy of the Book of Mormon. We are going back this week to teach them! Yay! A Family! Miranda's 11 year old, Hannah, began flipping through the Book of Mormon and screamed out..."I found Jesus!" hahaha It was priceless.

We also began teaching Pattie who is 60 and used to be in a motorcycle gang. :) She was being taught by other sisters in Buena Vista, but she recently moved to our area. Her daughter joined the church and now we are teaching her. She is a funny lady. 

We had another miracle when we received a text from a former investigator named Brittany who is 21. She grew up Atheist, but wants to believe in God. She went to church on Sunday and loved it, but we are meeting with her today and hopefully going to help her continue to develop that faith. She is on the right track!

We also had a few lessons with Gloria, Robyn, and a few others, but those are the ones we are most excited for at the moment. Great things are happening! The work is being hastened and we get to be a part of it! Yay! 

Funny story for the week: We went out walking the other day and of course it began pouring rain, but we met this cute couple bringing in groceries and they invited us to come to their church, the Cowboy church, with them! Can you imagine....a cowboy church? They said the preacher wears a cowboy hat, jeans, and boots! We are pretty excited to attend someday and to teach this couple the truth. :) 

My testimony has grown so much over the past 16 months and I'm looking forward to all I still get to learn!!! This truly is the Lord's work! I know the Atonement is real and I know that the Priesthood has been restored. I know this is THE only true church on the earth today! I know that there is a place for everyone in it! I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God! Something the Stake President said during stake conference was. "People may say we are not Christians, but we are THE Christian church." Just think about that. We are a part of His church! I love it!

Well, we are off, but I hope each of you have the best week ever! Remember you are loved! Remember what we are a part of right now! I love this gospel and I love you!

Sister Herring

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello my beautiful family!!!

How are you?! How are things in the West?! Life is wonderful here in the beautiful West Virginia Charleston Mission! Last week was truly another miraculous week!

We started off Monday by running night by finishing off our Preparation day due to not really having one. :) 

Tuesday: We drove to an exchange with the sisters in Lynchburg. Sister Freeland and I then drove  back to Lexington to get to work. Ooh and we got to eat lunch at Panera! Truly a bit of heaven. We then went and met up with Brother Wells who referred us to his friend, Randy. Randy is amazing! We then went and visited Linda and she started asking about baptism! Yay! She is beginning to understand authority! We then made a quick trip to Loleta who is developing dementia. We then tried to see a few more people before having to drive home. (We were going to go tracting, but we had no umbrella and a massive rainstorm hit!) It was crazy! We had a quick bite to eat before heading out (with our umbrellas) to do some tracting. We met one man named Josh, who wasn't interested, but he was super nice!

Wednesday: We did a little tracting in Glasgow and met a few nice people, including my Jehovah Witness friend, Maxine. She is a large African-American lady and I love her to death! We then exchanged back (we got Papa Johns) and then Sister Tobler and I drove back to Lexington to go see Randy. We had a lesson with him before the church tour and he is truly amazing! He is the kindest man, he's had a rough past, but he is working to get his life in order. I'm so excited for him. As he was leaving the church tour, in tears, he said "I feel like a weight of 100 pounds has been lifted." Wow! So neat! I love him already! He's working to get baptized on November 9th. We then exchanged with the Rockbridge sisters and Sister Combs came here with me.

Thursday: We were able to do our stake correlation reports before heading to lunch and then to work. We then spent the entire day street contacting and trying to see people. It was a good day to tract and the nice weather was a definite plus! We ended up getting to teach Robbie, who we hadn't seen in months, and we ended the night by teaching Mary. She is doing great still! We then exchanged back!

Friday: We did some time, went to District Leader Council, ate lunch, painted Willie and Karen's closet, then drove out to heart attach a recent convert, Meme's, door, before heading over to contact a referral of this woman named Lois Curry who was going to be teaching her Methodist church about the Mormon faith. She was awesome! We then ended the day with some dinner and weekly planning! Good times! 

Saturday: We worked at the food pantry, ate some lunch, finished our weekly planning, then we were able to teach Linda before heading to the Evening session of Stake Conference. It was a wonderful meeting! The spirit was so strong! It ended up being a great day! Oh funny story, at the end of the conference, President Salisbury had to talk to Elder Degooyer's companion, so President asked us to be in a trio with him until he came back. haha Poor Elder Degooyer was so awkward! We were too! There is a reason we have companions. :) 

Sunday: We went to stake conference where we were also able to see President and Sister Salisbury. I love them! We then had a nice lunch of fish, rice, and Sister Tobler's Green Beans. She makes the best green beans! :) We then went and tracted in the rain (a common activity this week). We ate dinner with the Davis's. They always make delicious crepes. We then ended the night by teaching Randy! Have I told you, he looks just like Roger Heap. He is the sweetest man, and I can't wait for him to get baptized!

Today we were able to go as a district to see the Caverns. They are the deepest on the East Coast and were amazing! I'll attach some pictures. Just a wonderful week! Sorry this is not more detailed, but it was wonderful! We got to be missionaries all day! :) We all get to be instruments in the Lord's hands and to do His work at this time. I love it! I love seeing the gospel change lives! We get to teach Elizabeth this week and she is still progressing well. We saw her for a few minutes this week and she was expressing how much she has already seen the Word of Wisdom bless her life. She is amazing!

Well, I'd better be off, but I love you! I hope you all know how much I appreciate the prayers and support. I am so grateful daily for your examples to me. I know that this is the true church on the earth today! I know prayers are answered! I know that we have a prophet who speaks and acts for God. I know that as we put our faith in and follow the prophet, we WILL be blessed! I know my Savior lives!

I love you!

Sister Herring

Pictures: The Caverns!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oh what a beautiful day!!!

A crazy week has come and gone and I've loved every minute of it! Wasn't conference amazing?! I don't know anyone who can listen to the words of the Lord's servants and not feel the spirit! Wow! I'm so grateful for conference and to know that we have a living prophet and apostles today! We don't have to search hopelessly for truth and wonder if there is any truth...We have it! All of it! We have every blessing, every ordinance, every covenant! We have the fullness of the gospel! I'm so grateful to be able to share this message with the wonderful people in the West Virginia Charleston Mission! We are so blessed to have an eternal family and the priesthood in our homes! Just think, the power of God is available to each and every person on this earth! Phew! It gives me goosebumps! :) 

This week started off beautifully! We were able to go to the community table which is an organization set up in this community to provide an amazing meal 2 days a week to families for free! It is all volunteer and all donated and helps struggling families to make ends meet. It is so neat to see people from all walks of life to come and eat together and serve one another! It was created by an LDS man and is now affecting 1000s. We were placed at this table with a cute African American woman named Lois Green. She is 73 and amazing! We hit it off and became best friends within minutes. She invited us back this week where we are going to exchange information and as she said, "keep in touch". I sure love her! We then spent the rest of the night trying to see a few people and getting appointments set up for the coming week.

Tuesday: We woke up bright and early (at 3 am) and headed to Charleston, WV for Mission Leader Council. What a fantastic thing to be a part of! I love listening to President Salisbury and getting to learn from the other missionary leadership. There are some amazing missionaries in this mission! We also got to eat at Chick-Fil-A which is always a treat on the way home. heehee So fun! 

Wednesday: October!!! Where did September go?! We were able to see Linda Flint and invited her to watch conference. She used to be a race car driver and is one of the coolest older ladies! We are hopefully going to begin teaching her son, Robert. The gospel would change his life by giving him direction and purpose. We then stopped by Lisa Wilhelm's house for a second to set up a time to come back and we were able to learn a few Ukrainian words! She is from the Ukraine and so his her grandmother who is living with her. Her grandmother doesn't speak any English, so I'm hoping to pick up a few words. :) We then went to District Leader Council for a bit and discussed the needs of the zone before heading to see Mary. She is doing great, a bit stressed, but doing great! We also were able to do a quick cleaning for a lady named Miranda who Sister Tobler used to teach in Salem! For some reason she was visiting our area! We had a wonderful church tour that night and had 2 people come who asked some fantastic questions! I love the church tour! We then ended the night by seeing Gloria. She is so fun to teach because she believes everything we believe, she just thought she was the only one! She has a lot on her plate right now and would not be able to get baptized for a while, but she is a joy to teach.

Thursday: We did our lovely weekly planning, then went and planned our zone meeting with the zone leaders. We were then able to stop by and see Mae. She is a classy woman! We hope to begin teaching her and her grandson soon! We tried to see a few people, had dinner, then met up with Elizabeth! This is where another miracle with Elizabeth happened! We were teaching her the Word of Wisdom and she said, "I've already studied this and so I started living it, and there are so many health benefits!" and then she went on to say, "Of course, Joseph Smith received this revelation from God!" Are you kidding me?! Amazing!!!! She is wonderful! Wow! She came to volleyball that night and is really seeking to know if this is true! She is so much fun to teach! She is hopefully going to make her date of November 16th

Friday: 15 month mark!!! We had a fantastic zone meeting! Thank goodness for the spirit, truly we didn't do much, but the spirit guided the discussion. We taught about Chapter 8 in Preach My Gospel and how it is something that will change our lives! I invite each of you to read and apply it! Amazing! We then went and taught Brenda and finally met her boyfriend, Joseph. He is a sweet man. We then drove back to Lexington for Correlation where we had our delicious Friday night pancakes (just like home) and talked about the needs of the investigators. We ended the night by contacting some referrals and also seeing Willie and Karen! I love them! Willie's heart is continuing to soften and hopefully he'll be at church soon!

Saturday: We volunteered at RARA and had a great experience there, before heading to listen to conference in the church. Between conference sessions we stopped by the Hendersons and invited them to watch it from home. We then watched the 2nd session and ended the night with dinner at Sister Arogyasami's. She made us delicious Indian food and we had a great discussion with her!

Sunday: We were able to begin teaching 2 men! One named Derek and the other Donald! They are both super nice men and are looking for peace. It was neat to see the Lord's hand in the work! We then watched conference with Elizabeth and this was the session where the first 3 talks were on "Following and Sustaining the Prophet". We turned to her and told her that it was unique and then she turned to us and said, "It must be important!" haha slap in the face! We got chastised by our investigator! haha She is truly amazing! Between conferences we ate lunch with the Kraut's who have the most amazing conversion stories! Sister Kraut is German and found the church in a little town in Germany. Her husband found the gospel in the army. So neat!

Today we are writing late due to some miracles! We ran into Willie and Karen and they took us out to lunch, then the bishop asked us to go teach this family with 5 kids. Of course we said, "Yes!" haha I love our bishop. He is amazing!

Well, I'd better get going, but I hope you each know I love you dearly! I hope Hollen had a happy 6th birthday! Mason! You are going to be 18! What better way than to spend it than in Italy. (I'm a bit jealous!) Also, thank you Bridget for the wonderful package! You were inspired! I was going to go crazy with the clothes I had. :) You have beautiful taste! 

I hope you each have the most wonderful week! Remember you are loved! The gospel is true! The temple is where we want to be! Just like they said in conference in Elder Scott's talk. Pray, read the scriptures, have FHE, and go to the temple as much as possible! I love you!

Sister Herring

Sorry no pictures this week! I'll do better next week!