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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trying New Things

Friends and Family, 

Happy Juneteenth! Lots of stuff happened this week, so I this week's email will be long. Long story short, life is good. Evelyn's baptism is being pushed back to the 30th at 6pm so that the Gilman Family can be in attendance. I'm SUPER excited and happy that she is finally getting baptized. Everything is going great for her. Exchanges were great.

Now, read below if you'd like the short story long.

While I was on exchanges with Elder Bird this weekend, we had a pretty interesting experience regarding Juneteenth. This past week I've been trying something new. In an attempt to contact an enormous amount of people, I've been on bikes in our area almost every day. It's SO much fun. I love biking, it is definitely the best way to be a missionary. While biking down in the streets, we noticed some ladies setting up for something at Martin Luther King Jr Park. We asked what was going on that day, and they told us that there was going to be a Juneteenth festival in the afternoon. I was really excited for multiple reasons. I think the history of Juneteenth is pretty interesting, and on top of that it was going to be such a different way to contact an enormous amount of people. After lunch, we biked to the park and saw an older gentleman walking with crutches. We immediately locked our bikes up and ran to go help him. He told us that we should just call him Rev because he was a reverend for a long time. As we supported him and walked him over to a table, so many people came up to us very confused and asked Rev if he was okay. He was so kind, and told each of them, "Oh yes, I'm fine. These two nice young gentlemen are just helping me to a table." His reaction to our presence made me even more excited for what was to happen as we talked to people at the park. 

Unfortunately, everyone else did not have the same reaction to us as Rev. I went up to a man wearing a hat that said "STOP HATE" and his opening line to me was, "I HATE WHITE PEOPLE." I learned a lot about first impressions from him. He told me that his name was James, and expressed to me a plethora of feelings against white people. I talked with him for a while and told him I'd be his friend, and he didn't like that too much. I just listened and nodded for a while as he ranted, and then at the end told him that I cared about him. His attitude changed. It didn't change much, but it did change a little. He said, "....I can't be mad about that." 

Everybody else wasn't as abrasive, but they were very confused about us being there. Kind of ironic. They spent a lot of time talking about unity in the community, and it felt very segregated. We tried talking to more people, but nobody really gave us much attention. I decided that in order to try and soften the people's hearts, we'd focus just a little on the kids. A group of children were playing soccer, so we went and helped them set up some tables for goals and coached them a little. They LOVED us being there. It was nice to feel wanted. After a little bit of that, we decided our efforts were better spent elsewhere. We were talking about if anything we did at that festival even made an impact, and on our way back to our bikes the oldest woman there called us over to her. She had oxygen tubes and gray hair and looked us in the eyes and said, "Thank you. Thank you for watching over the children. You two are great young men." We may have not found any new investigators at that festival, but at least we changed one person's perspective of the Church.

Also while riding bikes on exchanges with Elder Kiser, we knocked into this lady named Mildred Shoemaker. She was very old and had a hard time getting around. We talked with her and explained who we are and what we do, and she said that she wasn't very interested but did want to know if we knew anyone who would mow her lawn for cheap. We told her we'd do it for free. She didn't believe us and kept chuckling to herself. Why would two twenty-one year olds want to mow some old lady's lawn in shirts and ties for free? She couldn't even fathom it. We told her we'd return in the afternoon and if the lawn wasn't taken care of, we'd do it. We returned later and to no surprise, the lawn remained untamed. We knocked on the door and asked where we could find the mower. She was hesitant at first, but eventually opened up and told us it was in the backyard. We brought it out front and began to mow. Just as I was about to finish the lawn, this couple came up to us and introduced themselves. The man said his name was Jeremy and that he was raised in the church, but never baptized. He and his girlfriend were looking to change their lives, and when they saw us mowing an older woman's lawn they took it as a sign. We got their phone number and set up an appointment for the following week. It's always fun and exciting to see how Heavenly Father will bless us for our efforts and service. 

Laurette is doing great. We've had three lessons with her on family history, and she's just soaking it all up. She's beginning to make great friendships in the ward with the members we bring. We're planning on bringing Carolyn with us to our next lesson, hopefully they kick it off. It'll be interesting to see how Laurette progresses. She just said her first prayer with us today at the end of the lesson. She also made a comment to us on our way out that she thinks her husband (who recently passed away) brought us to her door so that we could show her "some fun new thing to do". Family Search should really use that in their marketing. FAMILY SEARCH: Some fun new thing to do. 

I love summer. I think it's my new favorite season. At least up here in Washington, summer in Texas is can be very humid and hot. 

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Apostolic Visit

Friends and Family, 

B_SY W__K. 

Care to buy a vowel?

It has been a very busy week! We had transfers on Wednesday, and on Saturday we had to get every single missionary from our mission (ranging from the Canadian border all the way down to Oregon) to the Stake Center in Richland, WA. It was quite the task. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President Donald Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy came and did a mission conference with both our mission and the Kennewick mission. Aside from the spiritual insights I learned, I was able to reconnect with Elder Stevens! He was an Elder I served with in the MTC in Mexico, and talking with him was so much fun. He's still the same Elder, hilarious and kind.

Elder Anderson shared some really interesting things with us, his visit wasn't entirely what I had expected it to be. He was very laid back and casual and discussed things in such an informal manner, it was fun and different. Towards the end of his remarks, he asked the question, "If you were stranded on an island for ten years, alone, with nobody else, would you say that you still believe Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected?" I'd like to think that I would!

He shared the a secret that he's learned is to get the teachings of Christ deep into our bones. How do you do that, you may be wondering? His advice was to memorize ten scriptures from the Book of Mormon and ten scriptures from the New Testament and to call upon them anytime we need the Spirit of the Lord in our lives.

As I've been working on the challenge he extended, I have felt the power of the word of God in my life. There is so much power behind words, and especially when the words come from our Father in Heaven we can feel their power in our life. Try it out yourself! You'll notice a difference in how you think, feel, and behave. I'll share one scripture that I have been working on getting deep into my bones.

"And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith." (Alma 31:38)

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1 Year in Yakima!!

Friends and Family, 

Transfers are upon us, and Elder Moser and I will be staying together for another transfer. This will be my eight transfer in Yakima, adding up to ONE WHOLE YEAR in the great city of Yakima. My heart is so happy. Little did I know, August of last year when I was reunited with Elder Wilson, that the next year of my life would be spent in the crazy gangsta hood that is Yakima, WA. It's also my last complete transfer in the mission, which doesn't seem real. I'll only be staying for half transfer next time due to this weird thing called 'college'.

Evelyn is getting really close to baptism. Her Mom says that she just wants to attend church one more time for all three house before she'll allow Evelyn to be baptized. Working with God's timing has actually been really beneficial. Because we've been patient with their family, Jessica has made tons of progress. She is praying every night with her kids and LOVES coming to church each week. She was going through a reallllllly hard time this past week with a lot of legal issues regarding custody over the kids. Elder Moser and I decided we'd write her a thank you note, expressing our gratitude for allowing us to teach her family and for being so supportive of her daughter's desire to come unto Christ. Jessica texted us later that day and told us how much she appreciated the kind gesture, and that it meant a TON to her. It was perfectly timed, exactly when she needed a little encouragement.

" small and simple things are great things brought to pass..." (Alma 37:6)

Matt expressed to us that his top desire is to get his family reading the scriptures daily. We've been working on it and we've helped them to set some goals and make plans on how they will accomplish the vision they have for their family. The biggest struggle we've seen is the oldest son, Calvin. Elder Moser and I have both agreed that the reason he is such a challenge when it comes to scripture study is because we were the same way not too long ago. It's been an interesting obstacle to overcome. If any of you have any suggestions or ideas on how to help teenage angst-balls gain the desire to read the scriptures, we're open to all help and advice!

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Friends and Family, 

Okay. I am actually really excited to write this week's email because so much has happened this past week and one of the coolest experiences ever took place last Tuesday and I'm eager to tell you all about it. I'll save that story for last, because just like my food I like to save the best for last. Maybe I'm the only one that does that, but I love to save the best tasting thing for last.

Last Monday for P-Day we went hiking out in Naches. The drive was really pretty, it reminded me a lot of Leavenworth. Once we got to the site where we planned to hike, we started on the trail. Our plan was to hike the trail and make it to some caves where we would go spelunking. We faithfully followed the Naches Elders along the trail, until we reached a dead end. Elder Moser and I decided we would be the Lewis and Clark of the group and with the mindset of manifest destiny, we trekked onward through the unpaved wilderness. We climbed rocks, leapt over trees, and scraped many knees. After a while of exploring, we determined that the trail actually ended back where the rest of the group was. We made our way back and delivered the bad news, and everyone began to make our way back to where we had parked our cars. As we made it back to the parking lot, one of the Elders went and used the restroom. While his companion was waiting outside for him, he noticed another trail that went off from behind the bathroom. Once his companion joined him again, the took a quick detour while everyone was preparing to head back to town. After a couple minutes along the hidden trail, they discovered that it was the trail we wanted to hike the entire time. Such is life. The path that takes us where we want to go can often be hidden behind smelly nature bathrooms. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

We have this one investigator named David who looks like Tarzan mixed with Jesus and his entire house is a garden and he only eats bananas, peanuts, oranges, and milk. He is the most interesting man in the world. When we first knocked on his door, his response was "You'll never convince me." He came to church two weeks ago, and actually really enjoyed it. He LOVES gardening and has taught Elder Moser and I so much about growing fruits and vegetables. He runs a non-profit organization where he creates community gardens for people in poverty, and we did service with him where we went out and worked with him on his garden. I seriously felt like Adam in the Garden of Eden being instructed by Jesus. It was a blast. He also taught us some cool gymnastic tricks on a set of bars that were for some reason placed near where the community garden was growing. Catch me on the US Men's Gymnastics Team and on the Garden Channel in a couple years.

Matt and his family are progressing really well. We've got him started on family history, and he's already caught the bug. He has his four generations on his Dad's side filled out, and he just started Thursday! It's spreading to his distant family as well as he asks them for information about his ancestors.

Alright, I'm sure most of you probably have just skipped to the end to read this story I've been hyping up. For those of you that have made your way through reading, congrats.

I was privileged to return back to my first area in The Dalles, OR for exchanges this past week. It's always fun to return to the areas where I have previously served, there is always some miracle that happens in my time back. My old ward mission leader had signed up to feed the Elders that night for dinner, so I was pretty excited to get to see him again and catch up with how the work has been going. He called us before dinner and told us to meet him at the hospital and that we'd be eating at the hospital cafeteria. We all chuckled a little at the interesting of idea of eating in a hospital. We showed up and met up with Brother Stewart and ordered our food. Brother Stewart was telling us about everyone in the cafeteria that he knew, and we said hello to everyone we could while we waited for our food to finish cooking. Once it was all brought out, we sat down at a table and I chose the seat that faced the door that opened to the kitchen. Throughout the meal, I kept seeing this woman through the little window on the door. She was working in the kitchen, and whenever she walked by she would stop and look at me and smile. I would smile back, and then she would move on. This happened repeatedly throughout the dinner. Once we finished eating, we said goodbye to everyone there and made our way out to the parking lot.

As we were standing outside the front entrance to hospital saying goodbye to Brother Stewart, I saw that girl from the kitchen come running out towards the entrance. She bolted through the doors and slightly out of breath looked at me and said, "Hi, can you teach me the steps to be baptized?" Without hesitation, I said yes. We were all in awe.

We talked with her for a moment, she told us that her name was Taylor we got her address and phone number. She explained that she has a friend in the tri-cities who she has been talking with a lot about the church and that she's been reading the Book of Mormon and really wants to be baptized. She had been praying the day before for an opportunity to see the missionaries and talk with them, and when we walked in and she saw us through the window, she knew her prayer was answered. Since then, she has set a goal to be baptized in June, came to church with two of her friends, and continues to read in the Book of Mormon.

People are prepared. They, like Taylor, are just waiting for the opportunity to accept the gospel in their life. To all you missionaries currently serving, missionaries that have returned home, missionaries preparing to leave, and member missionaries, don't be discouraged. There are Taylors all around us. As long as we're prepared for the people, the people who are prepared will be lead to us. Many have had a big impact on Taylor's life that brought her to that point. Each of you can do the same for someone else.

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mid-Church Snacks

Friends and Family, 

This week was such a fun one, we were able to go on exchanges up in Wenatchee and Omak. I LOVE going up to the northern part of our mission. It is so pretty up there, and the people are so unique.

While on exchanges with Elder Miles in Omak, we had a pretty cool experience.It was towards the end of the night, and we had just finished teaching their investigator Dmitri. We both felt the need that we needed to go tracting, but were unsure as to where we should go. Elder Miles just started driving and he noticed a trailer park that he has never been to, so we pulled over, said a prayer, and started to knock. The very first door we knocked, a man by the name of Tony answered. He told us that his father was baptized into the LDS church and moved to Wenatchee, and he always felt bad that he didn't support his father in his decision to follow the Savior. Tony opened up and explained that he has been going through a very rough patch in his life, and that he has been walking up and down the street praying to come closer to God. When he saw us walking up towards his door, he was so excited and anxious that we were going to knock on his door. He asked us for help, feeling distant from Christ and bad for the thoughts that he has and for mistakes he has made in the past. We promised him that with the help of the Savior, he can start again. We gave him a blessing, and left him with a pamphlet to read. His whole disposition had changed from one of fear and frustration to joy and jubilee. Helping people change, even in such short time periods, is one of the greatest blessings of serving a mission.

We've seen more progress with Matt and his family this week. The whole family hasn't stayed for the full three hours yet, because the older son Calvin doesn't want to. We brought over a young man and the young men's president to meet him and commited him to stay for all three hours so the family could stay. He mentioned that his biggest concern was how hungry he would get, so the young man we brought with us brought granola bars to church so he could have a mid-church snack! It's incredible to see the action spreading throughout the ward as the members start to do things with our investigators as well.

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder King

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stake Conference success

Friends and Family, 

This past weekend was Stake Conference and Evelyn brought her Mom and sister! Jessica, Evelyn's mom, has been hesitant to allow Evelyn to be baptized for a while now. She really likes the church, and LOVES having us teach her kids, but just isn't sure about Evelyn being baptized. I have been praying very hard for their family, and to see them all sitting together in the chapel was incredible. Jessica loved everything that was talked about. She was very amazed at how many loud babies there are! She told us that she plans on coming again next week, with her newborn baby Brooke so that way she can show off Brooke.

Matt and his family are still progressing insanely well. We gave Sarah a Children's Book of Mormon reader so that way she can read to Curtis each night before going to bed. She loves it. She gets to spend time with her son, and she understands more of the Book of Mormon. Matt told us the other day that he is convinced that it is only because of his ancestors that missionaries found him and that he has made so much progression in the gospel. He's been looking into family history, and discovered that some of his ancestors were members of the church! He told us that the timing of everything in his life has been too perfect, and that he firmly believes that it is because of his ancestors on the other side of the veil that we came back and started working with his family again. We've been praying to find people who have ancestors rooting for them to accept the gospel, and it was really cool to see one answer to those prayers!

We've got zone conferences coming up, and more exchanges. We had a couple exchanges this week with some exciting adventures that were truly indescribable. I'm so grateful for all of the friends that have been put in my life through the WYM. 

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"Are You from God?"

Friends and Family, 

Phew! Transfer week is over. Things have started to settle down, only to start to pick back up again. We've got zone conferences and exchanges galore, it's going to be fun. I'm very happy with the weather we're having. I wish I could live in weather like this forever. Elder Moser and I have been running every morning as the sun rises over the mountains and the fresh morning air is great.

A while ago while Elder Moser and I were filling up gas before heading home for the night, a gentleman in a small red car pulled up next to us and asked, "Hey! Are you from God?" We looked at one another and then back at him and replied, "Yes. Yes we are." He asked if he could talk for a minute, and so he parked his car and we locked ours and walked over to where he was.

We initially thought he was going to mug us or something, considering the atmosphere of the neighborhood, but to our delightful surprise he started opening up about his desire to change his life for the better. He told us about how his life is kind of in a dead end spot going nowhere, and he feels empty inside. I put my hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eyes and told him he was talking to the right people. We began to explain how Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and can fill the empty hole inside his heart. Just by listening to us quickly explain our purpose and how the Savior can help him, he already looked brighter. All because we were out and about, we found someone who needed to talk with us!

Looking back, I wonder how he knew we were from God? It was his first question. He saw something different about us. It caused him to approach us and ask us for help. When our lives are in harmony with the teachings of the Savior, it doesn't just bring us inner peace and joy. It radiates outward to others. Our example can have a powerful impact on others. I'm guessing we hardly even notice how our example effects those around us.

I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the first time this week. I've begun reading it again, with a question in mind. What are the attributes of Christ, and how can I incorporate them into my character? I've already learned so much about becoming more Christlike. One insight I learned is that in 1 Nephi 2:7, it says "And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God." Lehi had just left all that he owned, traveled in the hot and unpleasant wilderness, set up his tent, and the first thing he does is give thanks. Probably not the first thing I'd want to do. Gratitude is one of the most essential characteristics of the Savior. When we're grateful for what we have and what the Lord has promised us, our outlook on life completely changes.

"When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives." -Gordon B. Hinkley

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Earth Day

Friends and Family, 

Yesterday was Earth Day, I hope you all celebrated in one way or another. I've decided I'm going to try and find cool ways to make Earth Day a super baller holiday. Holidays need more hype sometime. Half-Christmas is coming around the corner, so if you still have your trees from 4 months ago save half of it for June 25th

This is the part of this week's email where I talk about how busy everything has been with transfers coming up on Wednesday and how Elder Moser and I are staying together for another transfer. Hip hip, hooray!

We went to the temple on Tuesday, that was nice. While in the celestial room I realized that it would be my last time in the temple as a missionary. I said a prayer and told Heavenly Father about everything that has happened to me since I reported to the MTC up to that point. It was a long but powerful prayer. Gratitude opens the windows of heaven up and brings personal revelation into our lives. I found myself overwhelmed with each and every person I've met, experience I've had, and insight I've gained. The future can only get better.

Last night while Elder Moser and I were pretty busy with planning for transfers, I was suuuuper stressed and pretty overwhelmed. Planning for transfers is like getting 161 people from a speeding train onto a helicopter and then up to a cargo plane, without stopping. Our investigator, Evelyn, texted us a very nice and very long text thanking us for our missionary service. She talked about how much she has changed and grown and how much happier she is now. It felt incredible to hear how happy the gospel has made her. 

I'm grateful she followed the Spirit and sent us that text. A compliment is something that costs the giver nothing, but gives so much to the receiver. Seek to praise others and you'll find more happiness in your own lives. 

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder King

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Miracles

Friends and Family, 

What an Easter weekend. Yesterday, Elder Moser and I had five investigators at church and four less-active members returning to church for the first time in years. It was incredible. We've been working especially hard with Matt and Sarah and their family this week since last week only Matt and Curtis came. We committed Sarah to find dresses by Tuesday, and when we showed up she had found six dresses. When we talked with her on Saturday she was so excited to go to church and take the sacrament again. Sunday morning, bright and early at 7am, she was already awake and doing her hair. We went in and I played the pan flute to wake the rest of the family up and we had a dance party with two year old Curtis. It was fun, and seeing them all at church yesterday was the greatest blessing.

A young boy was baptized on Saturday, and the family asked me to give the talk on the Holy Ghost at the baptism. As I was speaking, I was talking about my first experience with the Holy Ghost and sharing scriptures and I just kept having the strangest prompting ever. I kept feeling that I NEEDED to talk about Star Wars. I thought, "This is the strangest thing ever! Why do I need to bring Star Wars into this talk??" I paused, and decided to follow the prompting. I talked to Daniel about how the Holy Ghost is kind of like the force, that it guides us to do right things.

After the baptismal service, we were talking with the family members who were non-members, and one of my favorite members in the ward, Sister Prescott came up to me. She looked at me and said, "Elder King, I just want to let you know, you are the answer to a mother's prayer. My little five year old Max wasn't very happy and didn't want to be here. I told him that if he listened to you talk, you'd talk about Star Wars. Thank you for being the answer to my prayer."

I was pretty taken back when she told me that. It was a small experience that had a big impact on me. Heavenly Father loves Sister Prescott and Max, her son, so much that the Holy Ghost gave me one of the stranger promptings I've felt. Many talks were given in General Conference concerning the Holy Ghost, and I'm here to tell you that if you follow the first prompting, 9/10 times you'll be right. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Persistence and Planning


Changing things up this week with a Japanese introduction. Update on my study of languages, one of the members from the Yakima 3rd Ward who is a native Hawaiian gave me a book to begin learning Hawaiian, so you'll catch me becoming an islander over the next couple of months. 

All of our investigators have me looking at Elder Moser after each lesson and saying, "Elder, I know I say this for every one of our investigators, but I just LOVE this family. I think they're my favorite family to teach." Matt Palmer, one of our current investigators, is such a cool guy. He's been taught in the past and made some progress little by little, but we picked him back up again about two weeks ago and he has just been making leaps in bounds. He's the one ready and pushing his family to come to church and read and pray, so we've been redirecting some of our focuses to his less-active girlfriend to start getting her more involved. On Saturday we had a lesson and committed them to come to church. Our ward is probably the only ward in the whole world that has sacrament meeting starting at 8:30pm, so they both confessed that waking up might be hard. We promised them that we'd be at their door at 7am knocking and hooting and hollering to get them up and ready for church. We woke up the next morning at 6am, got dressed and ready, and made our way to Matt's house at 7amto do everything we could to get them to church. When we got there Matt was already ironing his shirt, but needed help getting everyone else up. We went in and I pulled a Bruce Rougeou and started singing songs about fishing for crawdads. Sarah began to wake up, and was excited and ready to go, but unable to make it. Matt and their youngest son Curtis made it to church and LOVED it. Curtis is almost 3 and didn't want to leave nursery when it was time to go. We went by last night and talked with the family again about why Sarah and Calvin. the 16 year old son, didn't make it. Sarah commited to herself to be there next Sunday and we made some plans to help her achieve her goal and we're really excited for her to come for Easter Sunday. She told me that I'm the most persistent person she's ever met, which was a pretty good compliment. She told us she'll probably cry when she takes the sacrament because she hasn't taken it in so long. Matt and Sarah are praying about when to get married so that Matt can be baptized soon after and they can begin working towards the temple. 

Another cool experience from this week is about a new investigator we found named Jamie. Last week while we were out tracting we knocked into this guy named Jamie. He told us he was 21 and I told him that I was also 21 and we started talking about how different our lives are despite being the same age. He lives with his girlfriend and their young 3 month old son. We told him we'd go back and see him some time the next week. Early one morning while prayerfully planning for our day, we were thinking of people we should try and see in the afternoon. I felt impressed to write Jamie's name down somewhere, so I put him at 2:30pm. Later that afternoon, I looked at my planner to check where we should go next. It was around 2pm, and I saw Jamie's name. I thought to myself, "I've already tracted that street and surrounding area, if we go there and he's not home we'd just end up driving somewhere else." Then, a different strain of thought began to enter into my mind. We had prayer, asking the Lord for his guidance, and I wrote Jamie's name down at that time. I decided we'd go and try and visit him.

Right as we pulled up we saw him on the side of his house raking leaves. I quickly parked and jumped out and ran over and told him we were there to help him rake leaves. He didn't believe us. He was very surprised and taken back as to why we were there, and probably more surprised to see us scooping dirty leaves into trash bags while wearing white shirts and ties. We raked leaves with him for an hour, and the whole time we talked and discussed the gospel. He asked for my favorite scripture story, and I started telling him about King Noah and Abinidi and he kept saying, "Well, what happened next?" and I told him everything from Abinidi all the way to Ammon teaching King Lamoni. It was incredible. He was so captivated, and we showed him the new #PrinceOfPeace video and he loved that as well and watched all the additional videos he could. We set up a return appointment to go back and give him his own copy of the Book of Mormon so that he can read the stories for himself.

Both of these experiences go pretty well with a big insight I took away from General Conference. I was praying leading up to conference asking God, "What can I do to be better? What would you have me do to fulfil thy will? Am I doing the right thing, am I on the right track for life?" Right before Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke, the holy ghost whispered to me. "Elder King, this one is for you." As Elder M. Russell Ballad began to talk about setting goals and making plans, I realized God was doing that thing where he doesn't give us a clear answer. He lets us make our own choices. Often times we expect God to tell us where we should go for school or work, where we should live, what should be our profession, what to do with our families, so on and so forth. God doesn't typically work like that, from what I've learned. Just like Elder Bednar talked about in conference, "whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss." (D&C 80) As long as we set righteous goals for what we hope to accomplish in our life, we cannot go amiss. We must be persistent in working towards our goals, always involve the Lord, and we'll get where we should be going.

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

From the Editor:  Here are a few pictures from the Mission Blog