Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/28/2013, Tuesday. Service, Service, Service and Teaching

Oct. 28, 2013
Hi people,
     I am alive although I haven't written an email the past couple of weeks.  Our P-days have not been ours for the past couple of weeks.  A lot of stuff has changed since I wrote last, hopefully I can remember some of it.  To start out with I can explain why our P-days have been so busy.  We got a brand new car recently because it was time for the church to sell the other one.  It is a 2014 Toyota Corolla, and it was awesome when we got it because we got new miles for the month as soon as we got it.  This has affected our P-days because we have had to drive around some of the other missionaries now that we have a ton of extra miles.
     Funny though, with all these extra miles, I had to bike anyway.  I went on exchanges the first day we got the car and went to Warwick which just happens to be a biking area.  It was fun to bike around because it always made me feel accomplished at the end of the day.  Unfortunately it was while I was in Warwick that we were going to meet the Asian couple again so I did not get to see them this time around.  They are doing very well though and they learned about the power of prayer.
     Most of what I have been doing for the past couple of weeks is helping people get ready for winter which includes chopping wood, cleaning up fallen trees, splitting wood, and of course raking thousands and thousands of leaves.  We spent 8 hours raking the leaves off one person's lawn.  I am not sure if I mentioned this last fall, but I never realized what a chore raking leaves is until I came out to the east.
     We had an innumerable amount of those small miracles this week that testify of our loving Heavenly Father’s role in this work of salvation.  So many that if I were to write all of them, you would probably not read this email because it would be so long.  But I will talk about one.  A man called us up last week and asked us if we could come and bless his home.  We honestly had no idea who this man even was before we met him.  After we blessed his home by the Holy Priesthood which we hold, we taught him about the simple truths of the restoration.  He said that there was a lot to take in and that he would have to pray to know if it was true.  And we promised him that he would come to know of the truth if he had the desire to follow Christ.  This man’s name is J____  and I will probably have more to tell you about him in coming weeks because he called us back after the appointment and told us that he wants to meet with us again and learn more.  I know that our Heavenly Father led our new friend J_____ to the church and that all the other small miracles that we experienced these past couple of weeks have been because of His infinite love for us, his children.  I thank you for your prayers concerning me and those that I teach.  And I know that Heavenly Father has blessed me because of those prayers.
Elder Erb

Friday, October 25, 2013

10/25 No words and an anniversary

We haven't heard anything from Elder Erb since we posted his last letter.

On another note, just yesterday morning, 10/24, Elder Erb began the second year of his mission.

Thank you for your prayers and support and letters!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 9, 2013 General Conference--messages heard and applied

Hey family and friends,

     What a wonderful conference we had.  Conference is so meaningful when you are on your mission.  I think it’s because you are on the front line in the war against Satan.  I feel like there was so much that the Lord was trying to tell me that I didn't have enough time to write it all down before the speaker would move onto the next topic.  Unfortunately I missed most of the last session of conference because we were helping one of the members with car trouble.  It’s funny how obstacles will jump in your way right before you are about to do something that you know the Lord wants you to.  I felt that this poor member needed our attention at this time though.

     In terms of what we did the rest of the week, I need to give a little background.  Most of this week I was not even with Elder Graff, my companion.  This is because Elder Graff is our District Leader which means it is his job to interview people for baptism.  Well we had two people that needed to be interviewed for baptism this week and they were very far away.  So to save on miles we decided that it was best to go on a bunch of miniature exchanges and trade missionaries for a while so that Elder Graff could interview everyone.  Aside from General Conference, Elder Graff was here for only a day this week.  This meant that I was in charge of the area for a week.  Don't worry the area is still in one piece. 

      Speaking of which the first thing we did was went to do some service at a members house.  So these members are trying to clean their house and make it safe so that DCF will allow them to have custody of their grandchild.  They took the advice from last General Conference and "asked the missionaries" for help.  It was mostly cleanup of their back yard and moving everything into either the burn pile or the dump pile.  After we got enough wood together we started burning everything.  It was a good time and we got a lot of work done, which resulted in a clean yard and a 20 foot fire.  The members said the fire lasted for three days, which was perfect because on the fourth day we came back and made another one.

     Aside from burning down the East Coast we got the opportunity to teach V... a lot this week.  It is a lot easier now that we have our car because we do not have to make the hour and a half trek to his house to teach him.  We decided that it was important to let V... know that although he is not quite ready that we are trying to help prepare him for the commitment of baptism.  It was a very strong lesson that the Spirit helped with.  After the lesson, Elder Fabrizio, the elder that was with me at the time, told me that I said some things in there that seemed to be perfect.  It was funny that he said that because I felt the same way about the things that he promised and taught V....  

     We also were able to meet with the Asian couple this week.  In our lesson with them we felt something strange, the way I can describe it is as a connection between us and them.  They think of us as their teachers and yet they are comfortable enough to tell us about very personal struggles and questions in their lives.  I think the strangest part of it all is that we have the answers to all their deep questions.  We probably do not explain our thoughts nearly as well as we should be able to but they still understand everything that we are trying to convey to them.  They see us as messengers of truth and it gives me a zeal that makes me want to help them with all that I am.

     The last story I have to talk about from this week is probably the most spiritual of them all.  I have come to learn how nothing in the Lord’s eyes is coincidence.  While we were going about looking for members that have not come to church for a while we stopped at a house.  Elder Graff said "Oh this house, trust me we do not want to go there."  Now I would like to sound like I was being led by the Spirit here but in all actuality I was thinking in my head, "I bet I have seen worse than this house."  So I convinced him that we should go inside. 

     And to our astonishment it was actually cleanish.  Well we talked with them for a while and she told us that her mother was in the hospital and that she was actually going to try to get a hold of us soon so that we could go give her a blessing.  We said after we left we would go there and she told us that it was a huge blessing that we were there and that she had had a hard day and did not know what to do or if the Lord loved her.  Then she said that every time she thinks that, the missionaries show up at her door. 

     After we left her house we headed to the hospital and met her mother.  She had been waiting for us to come by and told us that she had thought about joining the church before but knew that she had to repent first.  We asked her if she would like a Book of Mormon to read while she was in the hospital and she accepted it gladly.  She then told us about her testimony of the truths in the Book of Mormon and how it has helped her in her life.

     Well I don't think I have anything else to talk about, and I am running out of typing time so until next week.

Elder Erb

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sept. 30, 2013: We got our keys back!

Hello there,
"While we were biking…"  Just kidding, as a matter of fact most of the time we walked this week.  We just got the keys back to our car today right before I typed this.  A week without the car has been a very fun and exciting experience.  We saw it as an opportunity that the Lord had given us to exercise our legs a little and also to do some of the good old door knocking work. Tracting actually went fairly well.  One of the people we went to talk to came out of their house saying we are not interested and you can go away.  But it just so happened that we had actually come to this house because we saw that they were selling natural honey at a very low price.  
It was amazing to see her attitude change so quickly once we told her.  She immediately apologized and showed us her honey and the sizes that they sold.  We told her we would come back a different day to buy some because we didn't have cash on us. She invited us to come back sometime to help them around the yard and maybe talk to them.  
It just so happens that they thought we were the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but once they found out we were Mormons they remembered some friends that they had in the past that were Mormon.  It is always amazing to me how many people mistake us for the Jehovah's Witnesses.  I kind of feel bad for the Jehovah's Witnesses too, because every time someone finds out that we are not them they are a ton nicer and friendlier to us.
Because we did not have our car, we were not able to visit the couple from China this week like we planned.  On the other hand we got to spend a lot of time with V....  V... is our investigator that is married to a member and whose daughter was just baptized last week.  Fortunately for us V... only lives about an hour walk from our house so we went to visit him about every day.  Normally that might be too much but he actually needs the company right now.  V... had to have surgery on his shoulder this week because he tore his tendon.  In our visits with him, we have been able to talk with him alone a lot about what he needs to do to become closer with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately there is not much more to talk about.  Most of the time we spent this week was used getting to where we were trying to go.  I have been able to better relate to the revelation that says "But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief." D&C 61:3.  
I have better realized my calling in understanding how it is important to talk to every person that I can come in contact with in these short two years.  Not one soul of a child of God is more important than another.  They are all great in his eyes and it is my responsibility as his Elder and servant to serve and teach them.  That is just something I have learned lately and it is applicable to you as well.  Build up the kingdom in your communities, and life where you stand.
Elder Erb
[emphasis added]