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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Missionary Super Bowl

Friends and Family, 

So much has happened this past week I don't even know where to begin, but the beginning of the week is a good of a place as any to start. On Monday Elder Moser and I drove up to Omak to go on exchanges with the zone leaders up there. 4 hour drive through central Washington. It starts to get really pretty once we get into the northern part of the mission, more on that to come. While on exchanges with Elder Allsop, we went and taught the Harmon family. Amanda, the wife, is kind of a skeptic to God but has had some experiences in her life that has drawn her to learn more about Him and find her faith. Her husband, Jeff, is very spiritual. He loves the Book of Mormon and really enjoys the spiritual growth that he's seeing with his wife and kids. We taught Jeff and Amanda about faith, and read from Alma 32 with them. At the end, we really wanted Amanda to pray. We looked at her and I began to kneel down on the ground as we asked her to say the closing prayer. She looked at us very surprised, having never prayed before in her life. Her husband Jeff began to kneel down and she followed suit. She looked at us and said, "You know that I've never prayed before, right??!?" We looked her in the eyes and said, "Yes, we know. But we also know that the only way for you to find the answers to your questions is to ask God directly. We're here to help." We bowed our heads and waited in silence. Audible expressions of discomfort were heard as we waited for her to begin to pray. Her husband Jess reassured her that he was there to help as well. After what seemed like a long moment of silence, Amanda begin to pray. She offered up the questions of her soul, sincerely asking if Heavenly Father was there. It was incredible. Her whole disposition seemed to change after that prayer, she began to make comments and ask questions with an eye of faith rather than disbelief. All because of one simple prayer.

On the way back from Omak, Elder Moser took me on a tour through Coulee Dam. Some fun facts about Coulee Dam, it is the largest concrete structure in North America and third in the world! If you were to take all the concrete in the Coulee Dam, you could create a six lane highway from Seattle to Miami or a sidewalk that could go around the world twice. It was massive. The drive down through was beautiful as well. We stopped at this giant Sasquatch statue that has a cool backstory, a statue of this native american chief named Chief Joseph, and toured Dry Falls.  It all just made me love Central Washington more and more.

Here in Yakima, we are teaching SO many people. They are all amazing, I leave every lesson overwhelmed with love for each and every one of them. We've picked up a former investigator, Matt Palmer. His wife is a less-active member and his greatest desire is to be baptized. He's practically a professional pool player and is such a humble sincere guy. He told us that once we went back that he had been praying for us to come back and teach him again. In the past when he was being taught, he wasn't married to his girlfriend because she was pregnant and didn't want to get married while pregnant. She's had her baby, and is ready to get married now. Funny the concerns that people have. As we finished our second lesson with Matt, he offered the closing prayer saying, "Dear Heavenly Father, I want to thank you again for bringing the missionaries back into my life. I know I say that a lot, but I really mean it." It was very heartwarming to hear this man offer gratitude to the most powerful being in the universe for some two twenty year old snot nosed kids in his life.

Another family we're teaching is the Lopez family. Carolina grew up going to church but was never baptized because her Mom became less active once they moved. She showed up to church but attended the Englewood Branch and didn't understand it because it was in Spanish, so she asked someone where she could go in English and the sister missionaries referred her to us! She and her husband Hector are incredible. We say family prayers with them at the end of every lesson and their two year old son Milo comes and kneels even though he doesn't know what's happening. Their nine year old daughter, Aubrey, is a spiritual giant. We committed them to read the Restoration pamphlet for our lesson the next day at 4pm. At 3pm the next day, Aubrey asked her Mom, "Did you read the pamphlet the missionaries gave you?" Carolina sadly replied no. Aubrey then said, "Well keep cooking dinner Mom! I'll go grab it and read it to you." We are beyond excitement for what is happening with their family!

The second picture in this email comes from the humble home of Sister Ray. Sister Ray called us at the beginning of the transfer and her opening line was, "Hello, this is Sister Ray. I jumped out of a three story building and broke both of my legs and would like for you Elders to come teach me." She lives in some of the most humble living circumstances I've ever seen. She and her husband Bryan share an apartment and have a corner to themselves with blankets for their walls. I sat on their toilet stool to teach them, which was a first for me.

Despite the snow in the picture from our trip down from Coulee Dam, the weather is really beautiful. Lots of flowers ready to blossom. Serving here in Yakima is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have come to love the place greatly and the people even more. With General Conference this weekend, aka Missionary Super Bowl, I've learned a lot about Christlike love. It is truly the only thing that "faileth not".

Con Mucho Amor, 

Elder King