Monday, February 27, 2017

People in Our Lives

Friends and Family, 

This past week has been such a crazy but spectacular week. With zone conferences, Elder Taele and I have been traveling all over the mission and going on exchanges with the zone leaders and getting involved in all sorts of good trouble. It has been a blast. Might I add, a very exhausting blast, but a blast nonetheless. 

While we were in Wenatchee for one of the zone conferences, I got permission from President Lewis to go and visit Miguel and his family! A little over a year ago, while I was training Elder West, we had found Miguel and taught him and and baptized him within two weeks. I was fortunate enough to work with him and his family for the entire six months that I was there. He is more than just a recent-convert in my life, he is one of my great friends. I think about the love that I have for him and his family, and it humbles me to think that if I love this family so much after only knowing them for a year, how much does our Heavenly Father love them? Serving a mission has been such a blessing. With all the goodbyes to all of the people that I have grown to love so much, I have been able to take a small peek into the love that God has for each and every one of us.

For those of you that actually read the middle parts of my weekly emails, you might recall from a couple of months ago when I first got to Yakima and was serving with Elder Wilson for the second time a story about a family with a chicken on the loose. Yesterday, that family was baptized. Without a doubt, one of the happiest moments of my life thus far. I always tell missionaries that the bad times may outnumber the good ones in the mission field, but the good ones outweigh the bad ones. Working with the Arregoite family has been something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

It got me thinking about what a blessing it is to have been lead by the Spirit to find that loose chicken trying to escape to have them in my life. I can't begin to thank Heavenly Father enough for using me as a tool in His hands to help that family come unto Christ. I've been reflecting a lot about the people in our lives. With SO many people in this world, it can be very very easy to take those around us for granted. We encounter and talk with countless numbers of people, but in reality there are a select few that are actually IN our life. A taxi driver in New York probably feels that he has millions of people in his life, when in reality he probably only has a handful.

I hope this is translating well over email. The point I'm trying to get at is that I'm grateful that out of all the people that could be in my life, that you're one of them.

On a related note with the people in our lives, I'll close with this scripture.

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise." (2 Nephi 2:8)

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

His Work

Friends and Family, 

This past week has been filled with a plethora of phenomenal experiences with the numerous exchanges we went on. Can you tell I'm working on expounding my vernacular? 

Early on in the week, while on exchanges with Elder Aguirre from Othello, we spent a large amount of time walking around the streets of our area and talking with as many people as we could and knocking even more doors. While walking from one door to the next, we saw a woman and her daughter getting out of the car and walking towards their home. Elder Aguirre looked over at me and didn't even need to say anything, and in the next instant we were walking quickly over to talk with this mother. We started off saying hello, asking if we could help bring anything into the home. As we got closer and closer, Elder Aguirre realized that he had taught this woman before on a previous exchange! She remembered him as well, and we talked with her and got her information and when I asked for her last name, I learned that this was the mother of a part-member family that Elder Taele have been planning on trying to contact since I got to the area but have not had any success. I know the Lord put her right in our path at that time, and if it weren't for planning to be in that area at that time, it may have taken weeks before we could finally set something up!

Traveling up to Omak was really fun, the northern part of the mission has a unique feel in the air. It's hard to describe. Fun fact about Omak, it's the last place in recorded history where Mormon missionaries were tarred and feathered. Elder Harmon and I really enjoyed our time together. He has been working with a family for quite a while, and we had an amazing lesson with them. Eli, the husband, has been really questioning God for quite some time. He has a law degree and loves science, and right after we walked in he asked, "Elders, how long does it take before someone can get a testimony of the Book of Mormon?" It was perfect. Teaching Eli and his wife was so much fun, I felt like I connected with him SO well. It was missionary paradise.

Elder Moser (Moses Lake) and I, similar to Elder Aguirre and I, spent a large amount of time walking the streets of our area. I love just being out in the work in our area. We have so many amazing people that we're working with, and we are always finding more. While tracting, we knocked on a door and immediately noticed a family tree hanging on the wall. We jumped on the opportunity and began talking about family history. The woman asked if we could come back the next day, and so we did. Elder Taele and I returned and the wife wasn't home but the husband was. We talked with him about his family, his newborn child, and how the gospel will bless his family more than anything else. He expressed his questions about God, and we started to give some answers and he already has a desire to come to church next Sunday

The hand of the Lord is continually clear in assisting us in our labors. All of these experiences have layered upon previous experiences that all that happens in missionary work is because of Him. We are all where we are at for very specific reasons. Look for opportunities to serve others this week. He puts the people in our path, He prepares us to help others come unto Him, He does it all. He just loves us enough to let us come along for the ride.

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"If you want to remember your wife's birthday, just forget it once."

Friends and Family, 

Happy Valentine's day. Well, happy one-day-early Valentine's Day. I hope you all enjoy the subject of this week's email, it comes from a very wise member who fed us dinner last night. I thought I'd share the sweet nugget of wisdom with you all, married or unmarried. 

It's been crazy serving on the other side of Yakima Ave. My new area borders my last area, and just covers English people, but it's cool because I still get to see a lot of the old members and investigators from serving in the Englewood Branch. We have a lot of really cool people we are working with!

Curtis is somebody we recently found and started teaching. The Spanish STL's talked to him while he was smoking a cigarette outside and got his info and passed it on to us. He's an older gentleman who lives by himself, but still calls and talks to his wife that lives in an assisted living facility every day. He is a man of great faith, and has tons of life experiences to help him see God's hand in his life. As we shared the message of the Restoration with him, it was all clicking with him and making sense and he believed in all of it. Towards the end of the lesson I invited him to pray about if our message was true. I was thinking he'd pray later after we left, but he bowed his head and crossed his arms and started praying right then and there! Elder Taele and I looked at each other and quickly bowed our heads. He finished his very sincere prayer, and took a moment of silence, and said "Well. I just had a very strong feeling, so I guess God's telling me your church is true." It was sweet. He has memory problems, so teaching him is fun because he only remembers parts of our previous lessons. 

We are also teaching the Galvan Family. There is a mom with two daughters and some grandkids that live in this apartment and they are all so sweet and humble. They have some sort of physical deformity but they are completely functioning but have been discriminated against their entire lives. When we had our first lesson with them, Rebecca, the mom, was telling us how she had questioned whether or not God loves here. She knows that He does, but said that at times it is very hard to believe it. It was very powerful to be there and testify to them that God is no respecter of persons, and that He loves each and every one of them more than they could imagine. 

That's my insight from the week. The power, vastness, and greatness of God's love. Something that can be very hard to comprehend, but when time is taken to pay attention to the love that God has for us, life seems to have a little more color. Even in this cold, grey, winter. 

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teaching in Icelandic

Friends and Family, 

It's been a busy week here in Yakima, but a good one as well. Transfers have come and gone, I'm finally settled into my new apartment, and we taught a man from Iceland the other day.

One night this week we had a recent covert of about 4 months come out with us to teach some investigators. Unfortunately, every single person was either not home or didn't want to answer the door. Elder Taele and I looked at each other and looked at our member and told him that we were going to go knock some doors. Fear mixed with excitement filled his eyes at the thought of knocking on some stranger's door. We told him to take us to where he felt we should go and pick a door for us to start knocking. He looked around, paused on one house and said, "This house looks nice enough."

We went up and knocked and an older gentleman opened right up. We introduced ourselves and asked for his name and he replied, "My name is Thorbjorn *insert very long Icelandic last name here*, and you can't say it." We were very surprised and started talking with him about his name. He started to open up, and started asking us about who we were and what we do. Once the word 'church' left our mouth he closed up again and expressed that he didn't want anything to do with religion and was on the verge of slamming the door. We quickly began talking to him about family history and explained that we also love working with and teaching people more about how they can learn about their ancestors. His whole complexity changed once again, and opened up and when we asked to come in was very accepting. We went in and looked at a book he had about his family and talked with him about family search and had a great discussion.

I learned some Icelandic from him and also am starting to pick up an Icelandic accent as well. I hope to go back and with time completely master the Icelandic accent. Also, it was cool to see how some people have their hearts open to some things, but not all things. A lot of the time, we want others to have the desires that we want for their hearts! However, if we have the patience to learn and serve others and help them, sometimes we can help them to change their heart and see things from a new perspective.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder King