Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sept. 23, 2013, Monday

Sept. 23, 2013
Dear people,
     This week went by so fast.  I find that the busier you are the faster the mission goes, which is sad because it is when you are busy that you are having the most fun.  To start off, I want to pick up where I left off last week about the media referrals.  So for those who don't know what a media referral is and did not read last week's email, it is a referral sent to us by Salt Lake.  

As we were going about contacting all of our media referrals, one of them found us.  One of our members brought their neighbors to church and they just happened to be people that requested us to come by their house and give them a Book of Mormon.  They are a young couple from China and they happened to be in Utah and took the tour of the temple.  There they met a nice young missionary that was also from China.  They got to talking and were interested in knowing more about what we believe as a church.  

Now to explain this couple, simply they are golden.  They do not want religion pushed on them, but are just searching for truth.  We shared with them the restoration and asked them if they would pray to know if it was true.  At the end of the lesson they explained to us how they were worried that we would try to force them to join our church.  

They told us that for some reason they felt comfortable talking with us about their questions and that the commitment we left with them did not scare them off because they felt comfortable around us.  For me, it helped me realize how important it is to have the spirit in the lessons.  I believe that the spirit opened up their hearts so that they would feel comfortable asking questions around us.

Speaking of the spirit, we had a cool once in a life time opportunity just the other day.  So we had a baptism on Sunday of a young girl we taught.  Normally in a convert baptism they are not confirmed until the following Sunday.  But because her family can only make it to church every other week we had to ask permission to get her confirmed right after the baptism.  

After the baptism, we asked her father, ..., what he thought.  He said that he felt very happy about what had happened.  So ... is not a member, yet.  I feel comfortable saying 'yet' because he wants to be a member.  When he came to church the first time and the Elders Quorum President asked him if he was investigating he quickly answered, "No I am not investigating the church.  I have full intent to one day be a member."  Although he wants to be a member, we will have to work with him a little to get him ready to make the commitment of baptism with the Lord.
Speaking of the baptism, we invited one of the Elders who was here previously to participate in the baptism.  Unfortunately while he was here, he took our car keys to get something out of our car and then took them back to his area with him.  So we will probably be without a car for most of this next week which should make things interesting.  So don't be surprised when next week's email starts off with, "While we were biking."
Elder Erb

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boston, Massachusetts Mission Area Map

Elder Erb's mission area for the 
Boston, Massachusetts Mission.

Sep 17th, Tues. Ashford, Connecticut

Ashford, Connecticut

Hi there,
   I am trying not to make it a habit of emailing every other week but that seems to be how it is happening.  Last Monday I got really sick and so I did not feel up to sending out an email.  Most of the things I will be talking about are from last week because this week we all played the sick game as I passed around my cold to everyone in our district.  So back in it time when I wasn't sick, I got to meet an investigator of the church named J...  J.. is from the Philippines and has a super strong testimony that the gospel is true.  He has a slight problem with drinking coffee, but he knows that he has to give it up because it is what the Lord wants him to do.  While we were teaching him, he told us of the scripture that his testimony was built upon.  He said that the Elders assigned him to read Helaman 3.  Now for those of you who have not read Helaman 3 in a while I will let you know it is one of those chapters that is very long, drawn out, and boring.  He said that it was boring him to the point that the spirit testified to him this, "Who would make this boring stuff up?"  And he said that in that very moment he knew that Joseph Smith did not make up the Book of Mormon, but that it was truly written by inspiration from God.  Unfortunately I will not have any more stories about J... unless we go to see him get baptized.  I say this because it just so happens that J... is moving to the Manchester Ward.  Luckily, since that was the last ward I served in, I told him some of the people that he should go introduce himself to so that he does not feel out of place in his new ward.
     Although we lost J... to the Manchester Ward, it just so happens that we actually got someone from that ward as well.  One of the less-active members that we were working on bringing back moved out of the ward while I was there before we could help them.  Well I guess the Lord had something that he wanted me to tell them because soon after they moved I got transferred into their ward here in Ashford.  Their name is the K.. family and we re-found them and started working with them.  It just so happens that the Lord already started working on their hearts before we got to them because they told us about how they have goals of going to the temple together.  We asked them if they were reading their scriptures and they told us that they are currently racing to see who in the family can finish the Book of Mormon first.  They asked us if we could help them with family home evening because they did not think they were doing it right.  I was happy to let them know that I just so happen to know how to do family home evening after helping the G.. family figure it out.  Hopefully it will be a lot easier now that we will be doing it in English instead of Spanish.
     The last cool thing I wanted to talk about is we got a break from walking and riding our bikes all over the place.  This is because we got 7 media referrals.  This is a miracle on its own because 7 media referrals are more than I have gotten in my whole mission.  Media referrals are so special because the miles you use to find them do not count as part of your miles.  So we have been using them to get out into some of the farther ends of our mission and then spend the day out there.
     Well I happen to be running out of time again.  But I will have a lot of people to talk about next time that we are working with.
Elder Erb

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sep 9, 2013, Tues

Dear friends,

Elder Erb has a cold now so we don't have a post for him this week. Please pray for him to get well soon. Thank you all for your support and love.

Aloha, Mike and Shelly.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sep 3, 2013 (transferring to Ashford Connecticut)

Sept. 3, 2013

Hey guys,
     So I did not send out a message last week so I will explain some of the stuff that happened then too.  I want to start off with the dinner we had with the S’ family.  So the S’s are members that we had been trying to find for a long time to no avail.  Well we finally succeeded and they were very happy to see us and invited us to come back for dinner.  As we left they gave us a bunch of cherry tomatoes and some cayenne peppers.  We kind of put the peppers out of our mind until a couple of hours right before we were about to go visit that family.  We decided that we had to at least try them before we went to their house for dinner so we can tell them how they were.  

     They were hot, really hot.  I was fine after a little while but Elder Griffin got a stomach ache almost immediately after eating it.  Well after he got better we went to the dinner which was really good and then we were told to do something we had never heard of before.  After we had finished eating they told us it was time for us to sing for our food.  

     Elder Griffin and I looked at each other very confused and asked them what they meant.  Brother Shienberg told us that some of the sister missionaries in the past told him that we are supposed to sing for our food.  After much persuasion we sung the song "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." We decided to sing this to them because just a couple of nights earlier I found out that I would be leaving Manchester soon to serve in another area.

     Well I am now no longer in the great area of Manchester anymore.  Now I am in the Ashford area, which just so happens to be the area right next to Manchester.  So I may have mentioned how much of a foresty area my last area was, the difference here in Ashford is now it feels like we are travelling in Jumanji.  My new address is now 149 Ashford Center Rd. Apt. C6 Ashford, Connecticut 06278 and if you were to Google this address you might just find a bunch of trees in the middle of nowhere.

     Although I have been here for 3 1/2 days there have been some crazy cool experiences that have happened.  So both of these stories happened because we have been walking.  And although I am not in a walking area we have no miles because we have to use our miles just to get to meetings because we are so far away from everyone else.  So my new companion, Elder Graff, and I were walking to a less-active members home when all of a sudden a car pulls off the road in front of us and the man inside asks us "Hey are you the Mormon missionaries?"  We said yes and he told us that he heard that we do service and he wanted us to come by some time to help him with some stuff.  We said we would love to, but then he stopped us and said the real reason he wants us over is because he wants to go over some of Smith's writings with us.  He told us about how a friend of his gave him a Book of Mormon and he started reading it and was interested and confused about some things.

    Now at this point we were just trying to keep our cool so we didn't scare him off, after he left Elder Graff and I had to make sure that it all really happened.  So we made it to the member’s house, but unfortunately they were not there.  So we then started to walk to the next less-active’s house.  On the way there we found a gas station, and by this point Elder Graff was pretty thirsty from walking all day.  So we went in to buy some drinks.  

     While we were figuring out what we wanted a man walked in and said "Well what do you know it is the Mormon missionaries."  We started talking to him and it turns out that he had met with the missionaries a long time ago and for one reason or another stopped.  We asked him if we could come by some time and talk with him about religion and he said that would be fine if he could feed us and buy our drinks for us.  We ended up taking him up on his offer and told him that we would call him on the day he told us to.

     From this experience I learned how much preparation the Lord puts into each person so that they can be ready to find the gospel.  Many people might think that we were in the right place and at the right time and they are right but what I do know is it was not because of luck that we were there.  We met these people because we were doing what the Lord wanted us to at that moment in time.  Which was walking on the street in the sun, because we have no miles on our car.  I hope that as I spend more time in this area that I will be able to tell you about how these two appointments go.  Until then.

Elder Erb