Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Finish Line

Dear Family,

Another week marked down in the journal of Elder Herrin.  Really, it
was one that I will treasure the most from my mission.  I cant wait to
tell you all about it.   Soo.. time is of the essence right now...
hahah, just kidding, father.  I am going to write a full letter, don't
you fret.

Soo... what a week I have had.  We had plans to leave the Madagasikara
island on Saturday the 30th of January, but our plane was delayed...
till the next day.  We left on the 31st after Sacrament meeting.  We
arrived on the beautiful island of Reunion.  Reunion, for those of you
who don't know, is an island to the east of Madagascar that is owned
by France.  It is 1st world.  We have about 14 missionaries serving
there now.  We left to go work with them and do our best to help in
missionary efforts.  We arrived and immediately started to do
contacting.  This was somewhat different because no one wanted to talk
to us.  I also had a hard time communicating as I don't really speak
ANY French.  We almost chased people and tried to cut people off so
that we could get a few seconds in.  The work is different on the
various islands in my mission.  We then started to sing, in French, in
the middle of the park that we were contacting at.  Uhhh... well...
the spirit left after I started to sing because I couldn't even
pronounce the words right let alone hit the right note.  Fun day.

Monday was one of the best days on my mission.  We woke up and decided
who we were going on splits with.  I went with Elder Cruz (small,
handsome guy from Paris) and Elder Kolste (huge, buff white kid from
Utah).  They are in the training program as Elder Kolste has only been
in the mission about 7 weeks.  The kid is a stud and the companionship
is just amazing.  Soo... leading up to this trip, I had been talking
with Elder Covey and we had both wanted to go into the trip with
goals, or something that we could bring to the table to help the
missionaries.  We had both prayed, studied, and fasted for this trip
to go well.  So anyway, we started to plan.  We had ONE lesson planned
for the day and the rest was contacting.  We then started to talk
about the things that we studied.  I told them that for the last
couple of weeks, both Elder Covey and I had been studying faith.  We
read in Ether 12 and Moroni 8.  Then I told them that we were going to
teach 3 lessons that day.  They looked at me and said that at the end
of the week if they end up with 2 or 3 lessons they are way stoked...
I told them that if they had the faith... we would teach 3 lessons.
Then I said a HUGE prayer to God asking Him to not make me look like a

I will tell you how that story ends when I get home cause it is way
too good to tell through an email.
Gotcha ;)
During our stay in Reunion, we were able to eat the amazing French
food.  The elders cooked us up some burrito looking things that had
chicken cordon blue in it with meat and some amazing cheese.
President took us to eat at a Bellfaignkdgaldgdkgndlkg... French is
hard to spell... its a food place that has amazing bread and desserts.
We got this stuff called Kish (pronounced Keesh) that was like
breaded, eggy, stuff with either veggies or chicken or fish.  Way
good.  Then we got a seafood sandwich... WOW.  Not a huge fan of
seafood, but that sandwich was to die for.   We also ate an assortment
of desserts.  I had things with strawberries and rasberries and
chocolate and cream... the list goes on and on.  It was a fun time
getting to taste all of them and be apart of that small moment of

I also had the opportunity to fly to the island of Mauritius.  Another
beautiful island even more east of Reunion.  Mauritius is a 2nd world
country that received independence from Britain in the 60's.  On the
island, most of the people are Indian.  It was fun to get to speak
both English and French with the people.  The work in Mauritius goes
quite well.  The people are nice and kind and have more of a
willingness to listen to the missionaries share about the gospel.  One
of the coolest things that happened was Sunday.

We prayed at the Phoenix Branch.  It was half English and half French.
The branch president speaks English, but the rest of the branch speaks
mostly French.  We enjoyed a nice sacrament meeting where I was able
to help pass the sacrament.  There was only one small red head that
was passing and he came and asked Elder Covey and I to help him.
Felix was his name.  The Branch only had two trays so Elder Covey was
the middle man.. haha.  The meeting was centered around a scripture
found in 2nd Nefia.  It was a wonderful meeting.  Class was also good.
What made this Sabbath so cool was that there was a baptism
immediately after church.  A part member family was getting baptized.
It was so cool to be able to see a family come together and be united
in one faith.  Sister Davis and Cakata (The two sisters on the island
who taught the two people who were baptized) asked Elder Covey and I
to join with the rest of the missionaries in singing at the baptism.
We happily accepted.  It turned out that Elder Covey and I sang a
solo... for the first verse at least.  We sang "I am a child of God"
and Elder Covey and I sang in Malagasy the first verse.  People
started to leave the room, that's how bad we were.  Just kidding.  It
was just a really cool way to have my last Sabbath day on my mission.

With all the fun that we had on those two islands... it had to come to
and end.  We flew back to my island of Madagascar to much needed
solutions to problems.  I love feeling like I am home.

Looking back on my mission, I realize that I have learned a lot.  I
could go on for hours of all the blessings, lessons, and experiences
that i have received during this two year span.  Whats so great is
that I was meant to be here to get all of these blessings.  I still
remember bearing my testimony at church the last week I was there.  I
talked about how there are no coincidences.  The Lord puts things in
our lives for each and every one of us, specifically.  I know, without
any doubt in my mind, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what was
placed in my life so that I could receive happiness.  Never before
have I lived the gospel in my life like on my mission.  Never before
have I been as happy as I am now.  I know that the steps leading up to
my mission all led me to the gospel because my God wanted me to be
happy.  He wants the best for us.  He wanted the best for me.  He had
my best interest in mind.  In order to help me, he put me in a
position to help others.  President Uchtdorf once said, "By becoming
the answer to someones prayer, we often find the answers to our own."
When we heal the body it is always in inward effort but when we heal
the soul, turning inward does not work, the triage of the soul is
found in turning outward towards other people.  How great is it that
my Father in Heaven gave me this two years to turn outwards so that I
could heal myself.  I just think its wonderful  this opportunity to
serve.  I count my blessings every day.  I have LOVED my mission.
Nothing better than these two years of my life.

Thank you so much for your support, your love, and your help in
pushing me to be the best missionary that I could be.

I love you.
Tiako ianareo

Elder Cole Lance Herrin

Monday, February 1, 2016

Catch up

Dear Family,

This week was great, as was the last one.  I will try and do some catch up as I didnt write last week... Sorry father. 

Last week we were doing splits in Antsirabe.  I was able to work with many elders in the zone.  The work of the Lord is really progressing in the area of Antsirabe as I was introduced to many people who are ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was so cool to be apart of a lesson or six where the investigator asks about the lesson or scripture that we share and then they apply what they have just learned to their lives.  One cool/sad story that happened while I was on splits. 

I was working with Elder Koplin (The zone leader who is in Pres. Hathaway's stake) in his area of Ambohimena.  We had tracted most of the day and had got into a couple houses, but nothing that looked too promising.  It was getting late, like eight o'clock, but he said that he had someone in mind that we could visit.  We walked down the smallest alley way that was full of mud and small children.  The small path led to wooden stairs that were not suitable for a couple of american twenty year olds.  Elder Koplin "odio-ed" and a woman came to the door.  Elder Koplin asked if her husband was home.  He was and we walked in.  I didnt know who these people were, but I soon came to know of their story.

This family (Mother and Father with 4 children) had been taught a couple months back and had received a baptismal date.  They were very excited.  For some reason, the stars did not align and the missionaries were forced to move the baptism back, and then again, and then for a third time.  These people had gotten discouraged.  They had stopped coming to church and the husband had vanished.  He claimed that he had been gone to Toliara working... he claimed that he had gotten home that day and he also claimed to be leaving again the next day to go back.  Elder Koplin was shocked.  He didnt know the family that well since he was relatively new to the area.  The one thing that he did know was that this family needed the restored gospel in their lives.  He pleaded and read scriptures and begged this family to re consider.  He asked them questions that made them think about the feelings they felt when they were coming to church and when they were reading the Book of Mormon.  He promised them blessings and comfort if they would just come back.  The only thing that he didnt do was get down on his hands and knees... so I did it.  I was feeling the anguish that Elder Koplin had.  So, I invited the family to get down on their knees and I asked the mother to offer a blessing to know if what they had already learned was true.  It was a beautiful prayer.  But it didnt help.  We continued to preach and did our very best to create an environment where the spirit could testify. Before the lesson ended, the father said, "ok, we still want this.  We want to learn, but when my work is done, that is when we can do this."  Elder Koplin and I lifted our heads up.  Then he started to count his with his fingers.  "In June I will be done". 

A couple of things that I learned that night.  The missionaries really do want the best for people.  They want to help.  They want to give.  They want to bring people to Christ.  I also learned that people have their own agency.  Elder Koplin did everything in his will power to help these people, but he respected their wishes and with a smile said that we would be waiting for them at church.  I desire to be more like Elder Koplin.  He has such a large heart.  I know that the gospel that we spread is true.  It makes me so happy. 

In other news... not much happened.  We had a world wide missionary broadcast.  Way awesome.  We brought the zone leaders from reunion over to watch it with us so we have had them with us this week.  We had some good splits here in Tana and we are still going.  President Foote's daughter also had her first child.  Yayy! 

Thank you for all that you do.  I love you with all my heart.  I love being a missionary!

All My Love

Elder Herrin

Catching up on pictures-3

Catching up on pictures-2