Monday, August 7, 2017

No Regrets

Friends and Family, 

Well, this concludes the saga of Elder King. Hopefully you've all enjoyed reading about my experience here in the Washington Yakima Mission. It has been the happiest two years of my life up to this point. This last week has been a cherry on top.

One night, as we were out tracting in the later hours of the evening, we had one minute left before it was time to go in. I looked at Elder Walker and said, "Is it okay if we knock one more door?" He jumped on board with the idea, and we made our way up to the next door. As we walked up, we could both sense that the person would slam the door in our face. Although neither of us voiced these feelings to the other, we both knew what was to come. The door opened up and was closed in the blink of an eye. We walked back down the pathway with smiles upon our faces. "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." (Acts 5:41)

Heavenly Father has also been preparing me for missionary opportunities after the mission. We saw two guys sitting outside on the porch enjoying the nice evening, so we crossed the street to go talk to them. One of them had the state of Texas on his hat and TEXAS tattooed on his forearm. I smirked to myself, and approached him asking where in Texas he was from. Turns out he's from Dallas and is going back tomorrow! I was able to get his address and phone number and he said it would be great for me to come by with the missionaries in Texas sometime this next week!

At the end of the night last night, I was walking with Elder Walker feeling so content. Faith had entirely conquered my fear. I had no feelings of regret, or sadness, or anguish. No thoughts concerning whether or not I could have done more. Only feelings of peace and comfort. It was amazing. 

I feel like Lehi as he gives his last lecture before he passes. "Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth." (2 Nephi 1:14) For those of you reading this, if you are thinking about getting involved with serving the Lord, this is the answer to your prayer. Do it. You will not regret it. As I've served Jesus Christ for the past two years, I have learned more than I've learned in my entire life. I've grown closer to God, and I know Him personally. Whatever your thoughts about being involved with missionary work are, do it. You will not regret it. 

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Friends and Family, 

Elder Walker has been such a great companion for me for these last couple of weeks. We have been working very hard, and we've seen the Lord bless us for our diligent and faithful efforts. We set a goal at the beginning of the week to exceed the standards of excellence. At the end of the night last night, we had five investigators on-date for baptism, with all five of those investigators attending all three hours of church, and six new investigators. The Lord took our efforts and doubled them. 

The dinner we right after zone conference ended up being with Sister McAllister, the primary president in the Mission Ridge ward. She served her mission in Russia, and I learned even more about working with the members during our discussion with her. I confessed to her that as a missionary, the main members of the ward council that I have sought to work with are the Relief Society president and Elders' Quorum president. I asked how we as missionaries could best help the Primary president, and she gave us two pieces of advice. 

1) Whenever you have investigators with children at church, always go and introduce the kids to a member of the Primary presidency and/or the teacher. This helps out so that these faithful sisters don't find themselves with some stranger's kid that they know nothing about! It also helps out by showing the Primary children how much we as missionaries respect their teachers and leaders. 

2) Be the best example to the children. Say hello to them, give them high-fives, ask them how they're doing. I'm very grateful that I was able to receive this counsel at the beginning of my mission from Sister Lewis. It's something that has had one of the biggest impacts on my mission. In the words of Sister McAllister, "If you made a child smile sometime throughout the day, you were a successful missionary." 

It was great to touch base with Brother Irving again at zone conference. He always provides such great counsel and encouragement. As we were catching up, he looked at me and said, "Elder King, you are the best missionary you've ever been right now. Don't let it go to waste." 

The Lord put an amazing new family in our path this past week. Elder Walker and I were planning on where to go tracting one evening, and I asked if he had ever tracted in the more western part of our area. He answered that he hadn't, mainly due to the fact that there aren't as many hispanics over there. I didn't even have to ask if we should still go tract there and find out before he said, "BUT, we won't know unless we go find out."

As we began knocking, we definitely understood the verse about the field being white, but in a different context. It seemed that every person was a content and happy Caucasian who didn't want anything to do with Mormon missionaries. We kept knocking until the street ended, and then needed to make our way up and over. When faced with the decision to go left or right, we felt the impression to go left. We made our way through an alley and saw a Hispanic family arriving home from somewhere. I could hear Elder Walker mutter, "Hispanics." and we quickly made our way over to talk to them. The man kindly invited us in, and we taught him and his daughter about prayer. Throughout the lesson, he kept asking his daughter, "Do you feel the same feeling I'm feeling?" We taught him about the Spirit and invited him to say the closing prayer and the feelings of the Spirit brought tears to his eyes as he spoke to his Father in Heaven. 

Coming into this are for my last three weeks, I had some bad expectations that I would see tons and tons of huge miracles and that I'd find a family of forty and reach the August mission goal all on my own. In the beginning of my time here, I was reminded very quickly that this work is not about me. This experience with Gilberto and his daughter Ana may sound like something small. A simple prayer with a small family. But it's those little lessons and mini miracles that make being a devoted disciple something certainly celestial. 

Elder King

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God Chose You

Friends and Family, 

Most of the time I start off these emails by mentioning how fast time has flown since last Monday, but this time is the exact opposite. SO much has happened, and it feels like it has been a month since I last wrote home to update you on the fun adventures of Elder King. Being back in Wenatchee is really weird, I've officially served with four of the units in the Wenatchee Stake now. It's nice to have some great scenery and to be able to reconnect with some old members I knew and investigators I taught. 

The other day as Elder Walker and I were out walking around and talking to people, I was feeling really out of place. I was having a hard time working with the people here and really coming to love them. Partially due to the unfortunately quick expiration date that approaches me in this area. As we were walking and talking, we turned the corner and I saw some street art on the side of a small store. It read, "God could have chosen anyone to be here, but he chose you." It was exactly what I needed to read, a literal sign from Heavenly Father. Since that moment, I have learned so much about why God needs me, or all people, to be here for this amount of time. Wherever you are as you read this, whatever you may be doing or whatever may be on your mind, know that God has you there for a reason. 

Elder Walker and I have some really cool people we're working with here. This family we're teaching, the Reynosa family, all came to church yesterday. The son, Bryan, is even going to scout camp this week! Anyone crazy enough to go to scout camp with a bunch of Mormons must be somewhat converted to the gospel. 

One of our investigators, Primitivo, is really funny to teach. He LOVES missionaries and loves church. Elder Walker and I planned a lesson for him where we were going to teach the plan of salvation and emphasize the word of wisdom and the importance of baptism and invite him to be baptized. The lesson was going GREAT. He loved everything we taught him, and really desired to live the word of wisdom to receive the promised blessings. We talked about baptism and invited him to pray for a baptismal date and he said, "Hmmm... I really think that August 15th would be a great day to be baptized." Elder Walker and I got all excited and started asking him about why he felt that day was so special, hoping to hear him talk about the feelings of the Spirit. He looked at us and with a big smile replied, "That's the day to celebrate the virgin Guadalupe!"

....Ay caramba.... 

We're still working on the whole conversion thing with him, but he'll get there.

We went hiking today in Leavenworth, which was super fun. It's really pretty here, and I'm learning a lot. 

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King 

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Will of God

Friends and Family, 

In the words of President Lewis, "'s been an interesting transfer week."

Much has happened since last Monday, and I am officially going to be serving my final weeks of the mission field with Elder Walker back up in Wenatchee. I'll be on the other side of the river, so it'll be a new environment. I am VERY excited. As sad as it is to leave Yakima, I know that the Lord has a purpose for me there. 

The whole week of transfer planning, I was unsure as to where I was going to be going. Friday afternoon President told me he was going to stew and ponder on where I needed to be. Saturday morning, as I knelt down to pray, I opened up to my Father in Heaven and explained to him my desires and thoughts. I told him that I would really love to enjoy to continue to serve in Yakima, that I felt that I had great things going with the members and with the our investigators and with Evelyn and her family. I prayed with faith, fully believing that Heavenly Father would keep me here in Yakima. As I was approaching the end of my prayer, I head what many commonly refer to as a still small voice. However, this voice was my own voice. It sounded as if I was talking to myself, something I haven't really experienced before. 

I recognized that it couldn't have been my own thought, and in that moment the words sunk deep into my heart.

"You have forgotten something." 

I had yet to close my prayer, and pondered in silence for what it may have been that I had forgotten to pray for. I prayed for the welfare of my investigators, the growth of the church in this area, and for everyone else in my life. What could I be missing?? 

A quick moment later, it dawned upon me what I had forgotten in my prayer. I continued, "Father. As much as I would love to stay here in Yakima, my life is yours. It does not belong to me. I give it to you and put it in your hands, and I know that your will is what will make me the best I can be." 

As I got up off of my knees, President Lewis called. He informed me of the decision he had made to put me in Wenatchee. 

Aligning our will with God is what Jesus Christ has taught us to do. I testify, speaking from many experiences in my short time I've had here on Earth, that the moment we give our will to God and seek His, the moment we become free.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Adelante, con fe, 
Elder King

P.S. Today is a VERY crazy day. Lots to do to prepare for transfers. Unfortunately, this means no pictures this week. *cue audience awwwwwwww* Stay posted for pictures of some goodbyes next week.

Note from editor mom:
Since Elder King didn't have time to send photos, I'll add a few from his final transfer planning session as Assistant to President Lewis.  We are looking forward to his final 3 week adventure in Wenatchee.  Check the cherries in the grocery store--they could be from Wenatchee!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

...perhaps until the day I die.

Friends and Family, 

All is well on the Yakima 3rd South front. Elder Moser and I are having a blast as we continue to watch over our area with love and care. On Saturday, we decided to use bikes all day. We biked all the way from our apartment down into the streets of our area and saw so much success. Not only did an enormous amount of people see us as we peddled down Nob Hill, but we were able to personally meet a great amount of people as well. We had an experience that really illustrated how useful the Spirit is when it comes to finding new people to teach. 

We had just finished knocking on the door of one of our investigators. Her brother had answered and said that she had a late night last night and that she was asleep and asked if we could come by later. As we walked back to our bikes, preparing to make our way to our back-up plan, I felt the impression that we needed to ride up Yakima Ave instead of Nob Hill. I told Elder Moser we should change up our route and head north instead of south. He agreed, and minutes later as we approached Yakima Ave a man stepped out into the street and said, "Elders! Are you on your way to an appointment?" We told him that we were on our way to hopefully make an appointment, and he asked us, "Do you want to meet a member of 3rd Ward who probably doesn't have his records here?" We nodded and he explained he was a member of 2nd Ward. We quickly jumped off of our bikes and followed him into this apartment complex where he introduced us to a man named Charles. We talked with Charles for a little bit and he expressed his desire to "return back to the path". We showed him a picture of the vision of the tree of life and explained the importance of the iron rod to help him do so. We read with him in the Book of Mormon and he was so happy to be feeling the Spirit again. He then told us the story of his family, and mentioned his brother who was never baptized when they were younger due to a fear of water. He told us he would get us his address so we could go by, because he really wants his brother and his brother's family to be baptized! That was just one of the many great things that have happened in our area this past week. 

Evelyn is continuing to progress really well. She and her mom came to church, and her mom is taking more and more of an interest. She's starting to read the Book of Mormon with Evelyn, which is great because it helps both of them. Jessica (Evelyn's Mom) doesn't understand a lot of it, so Evelyn gets to explain it. When she doesn't know what something means, she asks us about it in our next lesson! 

We had a really great lesson with Laurette. We took the Lamphier's over and worked with her more on family history and answered questions about the church. She knows a pretty good amount about the history of the church. Brother and Sister Lamphier did a great job with clarifying some of the not-so-true things that she's heard. We focused really hard on getting her to church, and her main concern is that her family were ministers in a different faith and she would feel like she's going against them if she came to our church. She loves every member we bring over and talks about how much she knows she would like it, it's just helping her get outside of her comfort zone. We've been praying and pondering over what doctrines Laurette needs to understand to help her to make the commitment to come to church. She's been praying about it, and we've got some great ideas were planning to do to help her keep progressing.

There are a TON of really great things that are happening in our area. I love every street corner, stop sign, and person in it. Just the other day Elder Moser and I came back for lunch and ate as quickly as possible so that we could get back out into our area. We're making really great progress with a lot of the people we're currently working with, and seem to always be finding someone new to teach. My feelings about these people can only be summed up in the words of Ammon. 

"Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die."

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Monday, July 3, 2017

First Fruit of Repentance

Friends and Family, 

First off, happy (almost) Fourth of July! My favorite holiday of the year. I could ramble on and on about why Fourth of July is the best holiday, but I'll save my ramble for another day. Hobbies: rambling.

Hands down, no questions asked, not a doubt in my mind, the highlight of this past week and maybe even past year was Evelyn's baptism. I have been teaching Evelyn since October of last year. It has been a LONG journey, but so eventful. She and her family have changed so much. When I asked her about her favorite thing about meeting with us for so long, she said "I love seeing how much I've changed, and how much my family has changed and blessed because of my change." Summed up, that's the gospel in a nutshell. Complete change and happiness. 

We've been busy with zone conferences and exchanges as well. Our main focus this past zone conference was effective finding. We've set a goal as a mission to baptize fifty people in one month, and we all know that the only way to achieve that goal is to find an enormous amount of people. 

Something funny while up in the country town of Ephrata is that we walked into the home of this less-active member and I said hello and he immediately asked if I was from Texas. I was pretty surprised he was able to pick it out so quickly, so I asked him how he knew. He told me, "You sound just like how my Mom talks, and she's from Texas." Turns out I now have a Texas accent! Spending all this time around country farmers has given me more of a country flavor than my whole life in Texas has!

I am absolutely loving in here. It's such a weird thing, I really don't know how to describe it. All of the fun little towns and all of the hard country folk, it's something else. 

After Evelyn's baptism, I started reflecting on everything I've learned thus far on my mission. I was just beyond happy when she was baptized, and so I started thinking about how happy the gospel can make us and what I've learned from it. In short, I've learned
1. God does listen to and answer our prayers
2. The biggest blessing of the priesthood is the opportunity to serve others
3. You can completely and entirely change yourself because of Jesus Christ

Again, I could ramble more on these things. Instead, know that I know that this is without a doubt the Lord's kingdom here on the Earth. While in the service of the Master, I have come to know Him. He lives, and He loves us. 

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy Half-Christmas

Friends and Family, 

For those of you unaware, yesterday was half-Christmas. It marks six months until we'll all be gathered around the tree once again. I think some of the wiring inside my brain is all messed up because I think I get more excited about half-Christmas than I do about real Christmas. I think it's the warm weather or something.

Last P-Day we went on a hike out in Naches to do some cave exploration. It was really fun. I took some pictures inside the cave, but it was pretty dark so you can't see much. Go figure. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was really cool inside. 

I was able to reconnect with Elder Taele this past week while on exchanges in Moses Lake. He's serving in my old area now in the Moses Lake 11th Ward and YSA Ward and we had a really cool experience together. We were out tracting in one of the neighborhoods when this car with two girls inside pulled over and asked, "Are you the Mormons or not?!?" We both smiled and walked over and introduced ourselves. The girl in the passenger seat, Alissa Kolosnitsy, moved to Moses Lake from Russia a while ago and she has been attending the Russian Orthodox church but really doesn't feel that her beliefs are in harmony with that church. She has a friend who is Mormon, but hasn't made the best decisions in his life. She asked us, "Are you bad people too??" We chuckled slightly to ourselves and said we try not to be. We taught her about how we are always striving to become more like the Savior and to live according to his teachings. Although we are always striving for this, we don't always succeed. We had a GREAT conversation with her and by the end she looked at us and said, "Hmmm.... Maybe I should become a Mormon.... Will you teach me more about your church?" Pretty incredible to think about the Lord's hand in bringing this girl alllll the way from Russia to Moses Lake and having us out and about so she could stop and talk to us.

On exchanges up in Omak, I was able to teach a REALLY cool family. The Morgan family was a referral from a recent convert up in Omak. They have made many life changes and have LOVED learning about the restored gospel. Lydia, the ten year old in the family, relied on faith and overcame a strong temptation. Her grandparents, who she doesn't see very often, invited her to a Seattle Mariner's game. Of course, the game is this Saturday. Lydia was faced with a very tough decision. Push back her baptism to attend a special opportunity to attend a baseball game with her grandparents, or miss the game to be baptized with her family? Last night, the Elders had a lesson with the Morgan family. They followed up on Lydia and her prayers about whether she should push her baptism back or not, and she still felt uncertain. After teaching about how Heavenly Father will answer her prayers, the missionaries knelt down with the family and Lydia asked Heavenly Father specifically about when she should be baptized. After she closed the prayer and the last 'amen' was said, there was a brief moment of silence when Lydia pipped up. "...I need to be baptized with my family this weekend. I really want to go to the baseball game, but God told me this is more important. He'll help me go to another baseball game some other time."

"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

Lydia has been a great example of how we should become as little children. Working with such amazing people has completely changed my life.

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King