Monday, August 22, 2016

The Adventures of Yak Valley Begin

Friends and Family, 

Leaving Moses Lake was so sad. On Monday after FHE my heart was broken when I had to say goodbye to the YSA. The next day after institute, the YSA threw a surprise party for me and attacked me with cupcakes and covered me in icing. I may have lost a white shirt to red icing, but it was totally worth it. Moses Lake 11th Ward and YSA will always be very special to me. 

Life down here in the wonderful valley of Yakima is going well. My purpose here is the same purpose I had in Moses Lake, to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel. It's very different here in many ways. Hispanic culture is so different! For member dinners, the wives slave and cook SO much food the whole time and the daughters run around and wait on us and get us anything we need. It is so different. We aren't even allowed to stand up to put our dishes away! We get fed authentic Mexican food every night which is a huge blessing. My stomach has a little bit of adjusting to do, and I'm going to have to be extra sure not to eat everything they get me, but my tongue is super happy with it all. 

We are working with this really solid family right now, the Valencia's. Elder Wilson has been teaching them for a little while now and they just recently started getting super interested and serious about learning more. The Mom already has a testimony of the truthfulness of everything, but she's just concerned that after baptism she'll fall away and she really doesn't want that. It's awesome to see that she understands the importance of enduring to the end and how that ties in with the gospel of Jesus Christ, however she's holding herself back from enjoying the rest of the blessings that come from the doctrine of Christ. We're really focusing on her needs and what more we can be doing to help her feel more sure of herself. 

Her oldest son Christian has previously never been involved in the lessons, but the first lesson we had with them this week he came out and we got to talk to him more and he really opened up and started asking some really great questions. It is so much fun to see the whole family working together to learn more, and how they are all at such different levels in their own testimonies. Teaching the family gets real interesting and engaging when we have to teach to the needs of every investigator and they are all so different! 

A really cool little miracle that happened this past week was on the day of transfers, while at the Quincy transfer site I was talking to Elder Wilde and I found out that a family that we found and taught back in the day in The Dalles had their hearts softened and are now working towards baptism! It really strengthened my testimony that people are ready at the right times, and that the Lord is "able to do mine own work." (2 Nephi 27:21)

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder King

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RIP King's Row

Friends and Family, 

Transfers struck. Something completely unexpected happened and I am getting transferred from Moses Lake to serve in the Yakima Valley Zone. It was so out of the blue and unexpected that I would be transferred after only one transfer here in Moses Lake. I absolutely loved it here. My companion Elder Roe had become my best friend and we had so much fun together. I grew so close with so many of the members here, especially in the YSA, and now it's already time for goodbyes.

Goodbyes stink. 

I will be serving with my trainer, Elder Wilson, again. It is going to be so crazy being his companion again. I guess we didn't do a good enough job together the first time. Our area is the ulta-ghetto of Yakima. We cover some of the top neighborhoods in the US for gang violence. We aren't allowed to wear certain colored ties on certain days because the local gangs will shoot us if we wear the wrong color. There should be some crazy adventures up ahead for me! 

Elder Roe and I have seen some incredible miracles this past week. On Thursday we received a call from a man named Ramon, informing us that he had just moved to Moses Lake from Warden and wanted to start meeting with missionaries and work towards baptism. Our jaws dropped while we listened to the call, and set up church tour for later that afternoon. We met with him and showed him around and at the end of the tour we took him to the baptismal font and testified of the sacredness of that ordinance. The Spirit was so thick in that room you could cut it with a knife. I challenged Ramon to pray right then and there about September 2nd for his baptism, and he knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if it was what he was supposed to do. After the prayer he stood up, looked at us, and just smiled and told us that he really felt that September 2nd was what Heavenly Father wanted for him. We had a mud football activity later that night for the YSA and he came to that and came to church on Sunday and started fellowshipping himself and meeting all sorts of new people! 

On Friday we met with Jonny, another one of our investigators. We knocked on his door and right as his roommate let us in, he showed up and walked in the door! He was so happy to see us and apologized for being a little bit late. He went and grabbed both his Chinese Book of Mormon and English Book of Mormon and we sat at the table and had a study session with him where we read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and he was taking notes on it the whole time! So cool. Earlier in the week the Relief Society President in the 11th Ward threw a BBQ and invited Jonny and he came and I was able to talk with him about the Olympics and China and taught him how to make s'mores for the very first time! 

Serving here in Moses Lake has taught me so much about the kind of person I want to become. I learned so much from Elder Roe and from the friends I made in the YSA, and they will always hold a very special place in my heart. 

Iré, haré, seré, 
(I will go, I will do, I will be,)

Elder King

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

King's Row

Family and Friends, 

In Selah, there is a burger place known as King's Row that is known to have really really great burgers. Throughout the entirety of my mission, I have been on a quest to find the best burger in the WYM. After MLC on Tuesday, Elder Roe and I HAD to stop at King's Row on the way back for dinner, because it's named after our companionship! They have this burger that's called the Garbage Burger that has ham and bacon and all sorts of crazy stuff on it. They also have this little secret hut back behind the main diner called King's Scoop which sells ice cream. And really really good ice cream too! The closest thing to Blue Bell I've been able to find thus far. 

The conquest of member lessons continues here in the mystical land of Moses Lake. We set up an appointment with the Relief Society President of our ward and had a lesson with her on Wednesday. He husband just got back from a long business trip in China, and it turns out that he actually works with Jonny and Jason! Our two Chinese investigators that we teach and taught how to pray a couple weeks ago! As we discussed the happiness and joy that comes from being involved in missionary work, we eventually reached a point where our Relief Society President and her husband started planning a BBQ for the next week where they could invite Jonny and Jason and other co-workers, as well as other neighbors! Seeing them get so excited to do missionary work made me even more excited about it. 

We've been having a lot of cool miracles in the YSA here as well. We got a referral for a guy named Martin who lives here in Moses Lake but he's dating a less-active girl in Othello. He's been to church in Othello before but has never been taught by missionaries because he lives here in Moses Lake and doesn't know any members here. Getting in contact with him was a miracle on it's own, because he has no phone and we don't know his address either. We set up a church tour with him throughout the week to show him around the building so that he will feel comfortable coming to church. We had some really amazing members from the YSA come out to that church tour as well, and we were all waiting for Martin to show up. 5 minutes went by, 10 minutes went by, time just kept ticking and ticking. Eventually we decided that only other thing we could do to help him was to pray about it, so we said a quick prayer in our hearts, asking Heavenly Father to help Martin make it to our appointment. A couple minutes later, we got a call from him explaining that he had just got off work and was on his way and apologized for being so late. We had a great church tour with him and answered a lot of his questions. At the end he asked, "So what things do I need to do to get baptized?". It was a testimony to me that the Lord helps us out when we do everything in our power. 

We also have another really cool investigator named Cesar. Elder Roe found him and taught him on exchanges, and we took a recently returned missionary from the YSA with us to follow up with him on his reading. We went over and sat down and talked with him and he told us that he had read all the way up until Jacob. Another miracle, somebody made it through reading 2 Nephi! Miracles do happen! He told us that as he was reading, for about 10 seconds he just felt this flood of happiness and joy and he couldn't stop reading because he wanted to feel that feeling again. The Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit is truly our best tool as missionaries. 

I went on an exchange with another companionship in our zone, and I can finally cross off being a biking missionary. Biking all day on that exchange was so much fun. It was crazy biking around because Moses Lake is all farm land and it feels like we are just biking through the middle of nowhere at times. 

Transfer calls are coming up this weekend, time has flown by so fast. Stay in school, drink your milk, eat your vegetables! 

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King