Monday, October 9, 2017

OCTOBER 9, 2017

Hey y'all,

This last week was pretty great!! It was nice to be able to get back into the swing of things for the most part, although with the Hurricane hitting New Orleans and having to evacuate tons of missionaries it still ended up being a little hectic. Luckily it was a small hurricane and there didn't seem to be too much flooding. Also, our mission is adding 6 more areas from the Slidell stake/from the Mississippi Mission this week so that is exciting!!

Miracle: On Saturday there were many missionaries having to stay in Baton Rouge because of the Hurricane, so that meant a lot of exchanges and working our area like crazy. I learned a very important lesson that day. I was able to go out teaching in a trio with two new missionaries the whole day and learned so much. We gave everything we could possibly muster. From 10 a.m to 9 p.m with a short lunch break we worked our tails off. We talked with so many people and taught many great lessons, however, for some reason after the long day I didn't seem too satisfied. I felt like the Lord kept prompting us to go to places that were full of rejection. It was almost like we were going to the complete opposite places that we were supposed to be going. The lessons we taught were to older people that seemed pretty comfortable and stuck in their catholic/Methodist ways. So by the end of the night, I personally didn't quite think it was the greatest of days. It was when we got back that night though when Elder Mechling (one of the missionaries that got here last Wednesday) thanked me for the day of work and said, "This has been the greatest and most productive day of my whole mission so far." It had been his first week, and I could tell that he had been struggling. Finally the lesson hit me, I realized that even though I may not have seen the "success" that I may have liked or was looking for, it was actually the fact that he had had the greatest day of his mission so far. He finally felt like he had taught lessons and found people to teach. I realized that we had done everything we possibly could and given everything to the Lord. I realized that it wasn't about me. This was the Lord's work and he was going to teach me something while blessing one of his new missionaries. I realized that we had seen miracles, including stopping at a local gas station to use the bathroom, only to find one of his lost sheep that has a daughter that is a member in Provo. I could share more of the miracles that we saw, but the most eye opening miracle to me was this experience of working our very hardest and maybe not seeing the immediate fruits.

I wanted to share a spiritual thought from general conference: The talk given by President Russel M. Nelson stuck out to me a lot. He asked 3 very profound questions. One was, "What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?" I have been thinking a lot about this question. The B.O.M means everything to me. From being on my mission and seeing so many people without this knowledge I have truly realized how lost I would be without it. I would struggle to know if my Heavenly Father really does love me, or even if there is a God above. I would be so confused, and honestly so frustrated due to the countless interpretations of the Bible even though it is, "the perfect word of God and all we need to be saved," as many say. I think I would come to despise religion and religious practices as many do here, not because I wouldn't believe in a God above, but because I would be irritated that he would leave us all wandering around clueless to the true plan of salvation. I wouldn't truly know that there is a Savior that suffered and died for me and that He loves me. Why? Because without the Book of Mormon all Jesus Christ is known to be is a man that lived in the middle eastern countries working "magic tricks" or so called miracles, as people say, thousands of years ago, and we find this in a book known as the "word of God" yet it has been translated numerous times by scholars. Rather, the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and the reality of his life. It also confirms the truth and testimony of the Bible. Although both of these things are imperative, it gives me the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ as my brother and redeemer, that He is the savior of the entire world, and that he visited all of his sheep. It allows me to gain a relationship with my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ, because it is true. Alma 5:45-46 is how I know that it is true. It has brought me so much peace and happiness in my life that I will be forever indebted to my Heavenly Father for. I am so grateful to share this with everyone. 

Yesterday Sheryl got a calling in church!! She has been called to the calling with many of the most humble, loving, and righteous people I have ever known. A primary teacher :)  just like my Mama, I love you Mom! She was so happy, and I am so thrilled for her. 

 I was also able to go on a little church swap for a little bit to the LSU/  YSA ward to introduce the members to one of the guys we have been teaching, DeMarcus. He is 22 and such a stud! That was awesome seeing everyone there again and getting DeMarcus transitioned over there.

Well, I sure do love the work here. I hope y'all are doing great! Stay prayed up. 
Love, 
Elder Wilson

Thursday, October 5, 2017

OCTOBER 5, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was truly filled with miracles. I wish I could share everything, but yet again there is just no time. This week was transfers in the mission and so that put us to work for several days ripping and running making sure everything goes smoothly, as well as getting the new missionaries/sending off the ones heading home. I know I have shared this before, but the greatest part is definitely picking up the new missionaries from the airport. Every time I am reminded of the mental nervousness/excitement of embarking on a 2 year journey, baby stepping off the plane, clenching the hand rail of the escalator, and hitting the Louisiana humidity. All of which just hit ya like a hotcake in their own ways. However, I was glad to be there to hopefully lessen the anxiety, and crack a smile by making a fool out of myself.... again :) "There goes Chris again." It's all good I only got a few weird looks haha. Some of the new missionaries started asking about the alligators and let's just say everyone was clueless/nervous, one of the two, when I mentioned Gatorade. Bless mine and their hearts. I am always so grateful to share my testimony with them though, because it gives me the chance to look back at the amazing moments I have been blessed to experience so far on my mission, and hopefully excite them about their missions.

I hope y'all loved general conference as much as I did! I am always so inspired by the messages shared and feel like all of them were directed right for me. It is so amazing to receive answers to questions every single time as well. I wanted to share a miracle from the week that ties completely in with one of the talks given. I was reminded of the talk given by Sister Oscarson called "The needs before us." One thing she said was,"Ask your Heavenly Father to show you those around you who need your help and to inspire you on how to best serve them. Remember that the Savior most often ministered to one person at a time." About 2 weeks ago, Elder Hoopes and I were out contacting in a neighborhood and found a father and a son out shooting baskets. We decided to reach out to them and start shooting and introducing ourselves. Insert parable of the talents :) Well, for the sake of time we introduced ourselves to the mother and found out they have 5 kids. All 5 of them rushed out and we started handing out  pictures of Jesus. We then scheduled a time to sit down and have a lesson with their family. The day came, and this family is amazing! The mother, Toy, told us that she was physically stopped when we came to the door and felt impressed to let us tell her who we were. She and the father, Barry, then told us that they had been praying for a blessing from God to show them what to do for their family. That was amazing in and of itself. Before we had even met them the first time, Toy, had already ordered a Book of Mormon and got off work early just to be there for the lesson. So awesome!!! We have met with them a few times now and every single time they have all 5 of their kids sitting down at the dinner table and they are all so intent on the lesson. Well, to go back to this talk given, we had been praying about ward members that could help fellowship this family and felt inspired to ask this incredible single mother to "help us," Jacenta. She excitedly said yes, and we were so happy because so many people fell through. At the lesson she bore a powerful testimony of how she was praying that morning for "the opportunity to help someone that day." She then received a text from the missionaries :) The lesson was amazing and the family accepted a baptismal date for October 28th all together. All of the kids haven't been baptized before and many of them sincerely asked their parents why, only to receive the answer of a sorry mother and father finally understanding why they had to wait until now. I testify of the power of prayer and that Heavenly Father truly does put us in the positions to serve others, if we let him. But how much more the blessings for it? The Thomas family is so special and it has been amazing teaching them the restored gospel.

The other family that lives on Meredith street was able to watch the Sunday afternoon session and loved the talk given by Tad R. Callister defending the Book of Mormon. I was so uplifted by that talk and many others. Well, I will write more next week and share a few of my thoughts about general conference. I sure do love y'all and am so grateful for each of you in my life. The Lord is blessing us greatly and I just can't adequately express my love for the Savior Jesus Christ and his work here in Louisiana. The people are so different, but I love them. 

Love, 
Elder Wilson

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Hey y'all

Where do I even start. This week was such an amazing week filled with miracles and blessings.

On Monday night we went to a part members/less active family's home for FHE and had a lesson on the Book of Mormon and doing everything in our power to find out for ourselves if it is true. Marcus is married to a non-member and unfortunately been struggling with his faith, and his brother James is 22 and has been less active as well. Both haven't come to church for over a year now and so we have been really trying to help them. It was cool too, because James invited his friend Milan to the lesson and rumor has it she made it to church yesterday in Houston! We introduced Milan to the B.O.M briefly and then started sharing Alma 22 about giving everything to the Lord. The spirit was so strong especially as James started bearing his testimony. (again, he hasn't been active for at least a year) Everyone committed, but sadly Brikea (Marcus' wife) just doesn't seem ready yet. Regardless, we truly felt the spirit touched everyone there and everyone committed to finding out the truth.  On Saturday we picked up James in the morning and went out teaching with him! We ended up finding this really cool guy named Mark and taught him the restoration and James invited him out to church!!! Wait, what? we were shocked, because we have been inviting James to come to church with us for a couple months now, and here he is inviting an investigator to come with him! Long story short, James went over Sunday morning to pick up Mark but unfortunately Mark had to head off to work, but James AND Marcus both came to church together!!!!! :D It was soo good to see them there, and the Stake President even reached out to them and expressed his love to see them there. That was a miracle for sure. 

Yesterday morning we went with an inactive member Robin (she is the daughter of the Porter's/the elderly couple we bring the sacrament) to her church and it was a full on Southern Baptist church, like as good as it gets! It was quite the experience let me tell ya. Also, the interesting thing is that Robin stopped going to the LDS church when she was like 20 because of a few things possibly including marrying a baptist husband and social barriers based on race/ethnicity that were prevalent back in the day. Anyways, we think it meant a lot to her, because we had part of that same experience yesterday at the baptist church, but absolutely had a great time!! Let's just say I have never heard more sincere prayers being completely yelled and screamed out loud haha. I will share a few highlights: They had a full size band with the big ol drum set, electric guitar, electric keyboard, massive background choir singing praises, the whole works. Just about anything you can think of haha :) It was pretty funny and hard to keep a straight face at times hearing, "Yes, lord! HMMM. That's it. Yes Lord that's it!! Give it to me Jesus. Come on now! Literally after every phrase the pastor said :D And yes, the pastors all over Louisiana use the same style: Beginning with their nose in da book, starting low and slow, and then moving higher, and then catching on fire/yelling by the end of the sermon haha. The pastor was getting blue in the face by the end of that haha bless his heart. Also, it isn't a good sermon without mentioning Washington D.C/politics and how our leaders overlook the scripture, "As I have loved you, love one another." As well as bitter feelings from North Baton Rouge to South Baton Rouge. Not sure what is going on there haha, but bless everyone's hearts! The QUOTE OF THE MORNING had to have been the pastor yelling, "Open up your pocket books... AND Share the Loove!!" and then of course quoting a bible scripture. I hope I don't sound like I am belittling them at all though. I absolutely loved it for the experience and the people were seriously some of the nicest people I have met. They were super kind and friendly. Like they even had us stand as they introduced us and shared what church we were from :) Just great people. We even got stopped like 5 times on our way out from people. That whole congregation is getting dunked sooner than later, just wait haha! We then made it back for our ward and it was a stark difference. I sure enjoyed the service, but I don't know how they feel the spirit with all the yelling and rock band-ing going on. I was grateful for the refreshing spirit dunk at sacrament meeting :D 
Later in the afternoon we brought the sacrament over to the Porters and Robin sat in for the entire lesson this time! She usually leaves the room so that was awesome. I think we are starting to break down those walls. Also, after a few minutes Robin answers her phone and it was Bria. She told her "Yeah, the Elders are still here." Let's goo!  Robin's daughter Bria came back from work and was excited to meet with us again. Everyone shared their miracles/tender mercies from the week and then we talked with Bria about the YSA activities over on LSU. She seemed super interested in going, like she was just waiting for an invitation. One of her co workers is a member and goes to all the LSU YSA activities too so she is going to invite Bria for tonight. 


At church Liz came and is doing really well! Unfortunately her boyfriend Bret is going out of town the whole month of October, so we are planning for her baptism in the beginning of November. She said she is grateful for the extra time to just keep learning though, so I guess that is good. We tried sitting by Sheryl at church, but it looks like she has made other friends and everyone wants to sit by her :) We then asked her about general conference and she continued telling us all of the members that have invited her over to their house for the sessions. That sure made us smile! No one invites us over to watch general conference, but they sure invite Sheryl :) Jk, we are in good hands!

We attended the Baton Rouge and New Orleans zone conferences and that was yet another opportunity to strengthen my testimony of being representatives of Jesus Christ out here sharing the fullness of his gospel. The greatest miracle I will have experienced on my mission is the opportunity to draw closer to my savior and feeling of his love. He helps me every single day and I know this is his work. I couldn't do it without Him. I then went on exchanges down in New Orleans with one of the Spanish zone leaders and that was neat. It is interesting how things I once studied and learned just flooded right back from the spirit, and I was somehow able to understand a lot of the Spanish lessons/ members. Anyways, things are going super well, and we are really working hard. There are so many things I would love to share, but no time and y'all are probably tired of reading at this point haha.  Well, I hope everyone enjoys General Conference this week. I am really excited about it! 

Love, 
Elder Wilson

Thursday, September 14, 2017

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was another fantastic week as a missionary!! I learned a lot this week not only about the gospel and following Jesus Christ, but about the deep south all the way back to the 1930's. We met with the Porter family again after church and brought them the sacrament and then before having a lesson with the whole family we got to hear what it was like to grow up during segregated times in the South. Brother Porter grew up in Baton Rouge and Sister Porter in New Orleans. They told us many stories of how when they grew up blacks and whites were completely segregated on buses, at schools, bathrooms, drinking fountains, etc.  It was cool to hear though, because while Brother Porter was attending/working at LSU he had the opportunity to tear down the segregation signs after the MLK jr. Speech and everything. That was really cool to hear. They are seriously the sweetest couple too and so grateful. That is what the gospel is all about. Inviting all to come unto Christ and find the joy and happiness that comes from it. 

We met with our investigator Liz again this week and she is really progressing. We taught more about faith, repentance, and the sacrament. She is doing awesome. The coolest thing was that she had to go out of town for the weekend for a wedding, but decided she was going to leave early to make it back for Church on Sunday :) And then the other amazing thing was an investigator named Allison came to church for her first time yesterday! She was the one that received her very first bible, had the worst nightmare of her life, and then the very next day we knocked on her door. Well, she finally mustered up the courage to make it out to sacrament meeting and loved it!! We had her sit by Liz and they talked about baptism and everything. Liz even invited Allison to attend her baptism on the 23rd!! How awesome is that? And then Sheryl is doing great! The sister missionaries sat by her and she is going to go out teaching with them on Tuesday. Just picture that! She is going to throw the hammer down and testify like crazy. That is going to be incredible. 

Funny story:
So there is a less active family in the ward that all live out in Prairieville right outside of Baton Rouge. There are 5 brothers and they literally live right next door to each other. All 5 of them haha. They are all totally balling since they have like a family construction company or something, but the funny part is that the first house we knocked on was the oldest brother, Walter. He answered and was like, "hey y'all look you caught us at a bad time we are watching the game, but my brother John is home so totally go talk with him." so we go next door and knock on John's door. He answers and says the quote of the day, "We're watching the game, but I know Walter's home right next door so go see him." Then he was like, "oh no worries, go see Harry right across the street. He may be home, and if not Bill is just right down there." HAHAHA it was seriously so funny. They were just sicking us on their other brothers LOL.

The miracle with John, Lyn, and Lily on Meredith street continues: We went over there on Friday night and had another amazing lesson with them. We shared John 10:15-16 about "other sheep I have that are not of this fold..." and then in 3rd Nephi 15 where Christ explains the meaning of it. John was wide eyed and loved it. Quote of the night: "I mean I know y'all aren't here to persuade us (after we told them our purpose), but I wouldn't be against being persuaded to convert if this was true." It was so awesome! They had tons of family over this Sunday, but hopefully we can invite them to come next week. 

Exchange: Elder Glover and I went on an exchange here in BR and had a great time. One experience I will share was teaching this family we met the Restoration. The guy, Russel, brought me back to New Orleans for sure. Meaning, he loved talking about Jesus and yelling amen/hallelujah but it was a bit more difficult to help him understand our message haha. Anyways, it went great and then after we left and were hitting a few other doors we hear Russel yell, "Wilson, Glover, can I share a song with y'all?" Now this is where it really took me back to NOLA. Before we knew it he was spitting rhymes and singing this song he wrote right out in the middle of the street. It wasn't uncomfortable at all and even a few cars driving passed us just made it even better haha :) It was pretty unique and yep, totally got the whole thing on film. Good times. And hopefully we made an impact. Definitely did on me.

I love my mission and I have really come to love the people of Louisiana. I mean it isn't hard to when everyone is just so open and friendly. Ain't nobody cares yer singing praises out der in da street I mean come on. I know that God lives and loves each and everyone of his children. I love y'all and hope you have a blessed week. Also, please keep those affected by hurricanes and floods in your prayers. Many people attended church from Florida this week as they were told to evacuate.

Love, 
Elder Wilson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

Alright!!

This week was fantastic! Even with all the stormy days and crazy weather, the clouds seemed to pour down some miracles as well! We still aren't sure what the clean up situation is with Houston, but please keep everyone in your prayers. Louisiana has had a lot of coordination with that and everything as well. Man y'all don't know how many people talked to us this week leading up to and after the game on Saturday night against the Cougars. Sorry to hear about that! It definitely gave us quite the opportunities to share the gospel though so that was sweet. Let's just say I may or may not have been wearing an LSU hat, and some BYU socks while tracting that night ;) It was either really good luck or just tender mercies. Hey whatever works right?? It was pretty awesome! Apparently the ward I served in in New Orleans had over 500 people at sacrament meeting on Sunday as well. BR had quite a few more people too.

I will just share a couple experiences from this week for the sake of time.
On Wednesday night the Morgan City elders all had to get evacuated because of flooding off the shore so they came up to BR. The 6 of us elders just triple worked this area and zerged an entire apartment complex haha. It was pretty cool! Oh and Pres. and Sister Varner got us Canes for dinner after so that made the night. I was able to go on an exchange with one of the new missionaries that got into the mission about a week and a half ago. It was pretty awesome! We found so many solid people and just were so excited about it. the miracle was that we had 20 minutes before a lesson with Allison (who is doing really great and progressing still just slowly) and we went 2 for 2 on the doors. They both invited us in and we had a short powerful lesson with them. Allison was planning to come to church this week too, but her alarm didn't go off apparently. The lesson went really well with her though, and she asked us a ton of questions about things that she has heard, that of course are never true so that was good to clear up! It was just a great night, because we were so excited at the doors that everyone was like, "man why in the world are these two just so excited to be knocking on my door?"They just couldn't not talk to us for a bit haha.

Miracle:
Elder Hoopes and I were planning our day and looking at where we could go to find. Well, all of a sudden he walks up to the map and just points at a spot that he felt good about. I walk over and see him pointing at Woodbine/Meredith street. You can just imagine me like, "Meredith is my sister's name."  so just picture this (us jumping up and down like let's gooo!! and just that excitement haha) We felt a little like buddy the elf and Michael jumping on all the beds in that store. It was pretty awesome! Anyways, so later in the day we made it up to Meredith street and literally the first door we knock on this lady named Lyn just opens the door and starts unlocking the screen door. We hadn't even introduced ourselves yet! She made it seem like she was going to go get her husband and said, "John is going to be interested in what you have to say about Jesus." Usually that is the beginning of a total bible bash experience where the preacher husband comes out with 3 massive bibles and starts firing like a duck shoot haha. But then John comes out and he is like the nicest guy and totally open to hear the message. He has been going to tons of different churches throughout his life and just totally seeking. Their granddaughter Lily who is a freshman in high school also came out and we taught the Restoration lesson. It was seriously sooo cool. John stopped half way through and looked over at Lily and said, "I would highly encourage that you consider what they are saying here." That family seems so prepared and we are going back there tonight with some members. It was also really cool, because John started sharing his own beliefs about Adam and Eve and it was like totally true doctrine and even went into the Symbolism and everything. It was astounding! MIRACLE!

Exchanges this week: I went with my old district leader from down in New Orleans, Elder Nguyen who is on his last transfer. Well, we were up here in Baton Rouge and the miracle of the exchange is that he is Vietnamese and grew up speaking the language with his parents. And I have probably talked with maybe a couple Vietnamese people on my mission, but while on exchanges we knocked into 4 houses where the people spoke only Vietnamese!! what?? And then we ran into another Vietnamese guy on the street the next day. It was pretty cool!

Well, that's it for this week. Things are well down here in Louisiana. Thank y'all for your prayers. Have a blessed week!

Love,
Elder Wilson

AUGUST 28, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was filled with miracles, it was incredible! 

We haven't heard much about Hurricane Harvey, but it has been raining like crazy the last few days over here so hopefully all will be well. It is a bit of a doooozie as Ned Ryerson would say.  Definitely keep everyone in the Houston area/surrounding areas in your prayers though.
After we got everything all figured out from transfers and got back to our area, we went to work! 

On Saturday we decided to go find a few more part member families to work with and knocked on this one door. The guy comes out smoking a cig and has a beer in the other hand and was just totally uninterested talking about how we can't trust anyone in this world haha. Anyways, so we wonder why we were sent to that person and so just decided to start tracting. The first door we hit, the lady opens and was like, "Elders!" We were like what? what are the odds? She then continues to tell us how busy she is and that she is having a huge party with family right now and everything. Well, knowing that she opened up the door yelling ,"elders" I wasn't stopping there haha. So I spotted something on the counter and was like, "Is that peach cobbler??"  and as soon as she turned around I just started walking in!! haha it was the best! I am almost positive she was just planning to bring us a plate outside or something, but we just went right in! Long story short, we go into the living room and there are several families in there and we ended up passing out like 15 pass along cards and started talking about the book of Mormon and everything. It was so cool! I felt like we were on a big wall preaching or something :D And it turns out that the lady that answered the door is being taught by missionaries in California right now. She had to leave at 1 a.m Sunday, but we have a follow up lesson with a few of them next week. FEAR NO MAN! and the peach cobbler was pretty great too haha.

Miracle: On Sunday afternoon we were out contacting and decided to find another part member family. Well, our GPS led us to this wrong address and we ended up at this apartment complex. Well, we decided to see why and found an awesome new investigator that goes to school at Southeastern University, but then continued on to the PM fam. That was a miracle in and of itself, but it get's better! So we find the right house and knock on the door. This lady named Robin answered and said, "oh, y'all must be here to see my parents." WE were like, "We are here to see everyone." (having no idea really why we felt impressed to go to this house) Well, come to find out Robin is a member, but actively attends a baptist church right now. Her parents, Bro and Sister Porter live there with her ever since the flood last year, and they have been members for 30 years and are now in their 80's. Apparently bro. Porter was a high priest group leader for 17 years in the wynborn chapel that got flooded out. The miracle of the story is that they haven't had the sacrament for 7 months and Robin the daughter wrote a letter 3 DAYS AGO to the bishop probably complaining that they haven't come to see the Porters/give them the sacrament. 3 DAYS AGO!! The quote from the RM was totally going through my head, "you didn't get the letter? (dear john letter) What letter?" We definitely hadn't heard of any letter and it probably never even made it to the church yet haha. We had no idea, but Heavenly Father definitely knew. We ended up calling the bishop and administering the sacrament right then and there. We had a lesson all together too and Robin's daughter came home from work just in the right time. We are going to go over next week too and start teaching as well! 

We have been working with our investigator Liz, who has been dating a RM guy down here for Summer sales named Bret. He served his mission in Hungary, and Elizabeth grew up Catholic her whole life but just didn't ever feel like it was her decision nor did she feel a part of it I guess. Anyways, she has come to church like 4 times already and when Bret was out of town for the weekend she came with us to church AND to Sheryl and Shane's baptism on Saturday. When we taught the first lesson with her and shared the short Restoration video with her she was in tears and wondered why she hadn't ever heard this before. It was soo cool! And she made some delicious lasagna too so that was definitely a plus :) They can sure cook down here in the south haha. So we had an incredible Book of Mormon lesson with her right next to the baptism font last week, and then met again at the Mission President's house for dinner and a lesson this week. She is so golden it is awesome. Bret helped so much and shared his testimony about how when he went on his mission h e felt like he didn't know anything, but knew it was the right thing to do and then the truth was all confirmed to him. It was a perfect segway into 2nd Nephi 31 and although it was one of the most nerve wracking baptismal invitations with her, her boyfriend, mission pres (president Varner), and Sister Varner all there just waiting for it, I went for it!! She has just been waiting for it haha. September 16th is the date and we are all so excited. 

A bit longer email this week, but it is seriously so amazing to have the opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and just be directed to where he needs me to be. I love y'all and thank you so much for supporting me. I am so grateful to be here.

Love, 
Elder Wilson

AUGUST 24, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was CRAZY busy, but it was FILLED with miracles!! Not a whole lot of time to write, but I will include some of the amazing things and some pictures to make up for it. On Monday I will share more as well!

With transfers and all we were able to pick up the 23 new missionaries coming in from the airport and they are all soo solid! It was super cool having a testimony meeting with them and sharing a few of our experiences as well. They were so excited and it was just awesome seeing that. Sadly with transfers comes change, and Elder Arellano got released and is heading down to New Orleans in an area full of Spanish to finish his mission. He was a fantastic companion and we were able to do so great together. The work will still go forward, but I will definitely miss that California native! My new companion is Elder Hoopes! He is such an awesome guy and we were able to go on exchanges together once down in New Orleans, so I am looking forward to it. He is from Star Valley, Wyoming, and we are both excited to give it our all! He is an English missionary also, so we are going to be focusing in on the English ward. I know that it is all part of the Lord's plan, but I am definitely going to miss being a part of the Spanish branch as well. I learned so much about my Heavenly Father with that experience, and I will never forget the miracles and tender mercies in regard to the gift of tongues. There are things that you might not ever understand, but when the spirit bears witness to you and others there is no way to deny it.

Last week we had a general authority Elder Klebingat of the seventy come and visit the mission. He started out with a Mission Leadership Council down in New Orleans and was totally throwing down the hammer haha. In a good way :) And then he had a zone conference in NOLA and BR. He is from Germany and so you can imagine he didn't beat around the bush at all. He was straight to the point and didn't worry about offending anyone, it was pretty intense. Those Europeans haha. He was a mission president in Ukraine as well and was just so inspiring. He gave me such a desire to change, repent, and be even better. A lot of the thoughts and impressions he left were to have a sense of urgency for your mission and what would I would do if I only had one day left on my mission? He knew the scriptures like the back of his hand it was so cool. It gave me the chance to really ponder the principle of repentance. As I have been able to learn on my mission, it is only when I personally am willing to do as King Lamoni's father did in Alma 22:18, that is give away all my sins, be able to teach repentance with power and authority. I truly know that the only way Heavenly Father will trust us enough to guide us to his lost children that are only waiting to hear his voice, we have to be willing to give it all to Him. Lay it all on the altar. He lives and loves us, but it is only when we are obedient does he IMMEDIATELY bless us. I know that is true with all my heart. Saturday during the afternoon conference we had the incredible opportunity to be a part of our two investigators, Shane Richard and Sheryl Green's baptisms. It was a joint baptism and it was incredible! They both came so spiritually prepared and it was one of the greatest experiences of my mission seeing them come out of that water knowing that they were fully forgiven of their sins. I am pretty sure they were glowing with the love of the Savior. Sheryl didn't go all the way under the water the first time so she had to do it again, but it was pretty funny because as she exited the font she said, "I got a double blessing." haha she is so awesome! The spirit truly was undeniable. I felt so much happiness and joy for them, and can't begin to explain the gratitude that I felt being able to witness the decision that they made to follow Jesus Christ. Now to continue to help them make it to the temple. What was super cool though was the General Authority, Elder Klebingat came in and spoke for a couple of minutes, bore his testimony, and then shook Shane/Sheryl's hands. They were so thrilled!. It was just so great, because the ward really opened their arms and welcomed them both. The bishop baptized Sheryl and a ward member confirmed her in Sacrament meeting. Shane had a ward member do both as well, and that made it even better having that connection in the ward. It was such a special experience for me, and I can't wait to keep working with them and especially start teaching Sheryl's family!

There were so many amazing miracles that I wish I had time to share, but just know that I am doing great and am so happy to be here. 

Love, 
Elder Wilson