Monday, November 20, 2017

NOVEMBER 20, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was super busy but so tender!! One of the biggest miracles this week was getting back with the Noland family, (family on Meredith street that has been super busy the last several weeks) and Allison (the lady that we met a day after she received her first bible). Both meetings were incredible!

On Friday night we met with the Nolands and brought our mission president with us. It was so awesome, because Pres. Varner could relate to them so much about his grandkids/family and everything. John had a question about the usage of Jesus' name in the B.O.M, and it was actually quite the miracle. None of us had even thought about that before as far as the historical timeline, but the spirit sure knew the answer to it. We opened to 2nd Nephi 25 where Nephi starts prophesying about the Savior and when his name would be used, etc. We finished with Nephi's testimony in chapter 33 about coming to know if they are the words of Christ. It completely answered his questions and the spirit was felt. It is amazing to me to think that not only do things add up spiritually and scripturally, but the Book of Mormon adds up historically as well. John and his wife Lynn realized that they have been "letting the B.O.M collect dust" but seem re-energized now :D Needless to say President Varner was pretty stoked after that. Just doing what we can :)

Miracle: We recently met this incredible lady named Johann who is from Haiti. We taught her the first lesson and committed her to come to church. Yesterday she walks into church with her 4 kids ages 3, 8, 11, and 12. She is so awesome and seemed to love sacrament meeting!! Apparently she hid the car keys from her boyfriendso she could make it. Making the steps baby! Her boyfriend started cussing up a storm at us in his boxers with a cigar in his mouth and a whiskey bottle in his hand. It was one of those times where we kinda wished he would have laid his hands on us, but he didn't and that wouldn't be Christ-like!

Adventure: We were up in the northern part of Baton Rouge one of the days doing a bunch of work up there and came across an abandoned church building. Well, turns out it was the LDS church on Winbourne that had closed down after being flooded out last August. The outside looked great, but the inside was totally gutted out. It was pretty sad to see honestly, but just encouraged us more to get things poppin again and try and get that place up and running again. There were 4 wards in Baton Rouge with two buildings, but after the flood they combined them into 2 and consolidated into one building since so many members moved away. Almost the same thing happened down in New Orleans after Katrina. We found so many people interested in the message up there though, so I know in the Lord's time it is going to be back up and running. Great people up there! Rumor has it a few members had the calling of watching the parking lot to make sure no cars got broken into :) Also, we may or may not have been eye witnesses of a kid running around with a black spray painted beebee gun causing havoc among the neighbor kids. However, before we could yell Chris, 6 cop cars were on the scene. What a blessing indoor plumbing is.

On Saturday we were able to meet with Allison again. We thought she had fallen off the face of the Earth or something... again. Good thing she hadn't though! I guess it had just been crazy at work and just got distracted. She texted us this week saying that her nightmares started again, and at that point she realized that they had only stopped since we started meeting with her and so she really wanted to meet again!  We had a great lesson on Alma 34. It is great how the scriptures can be really straight forward and makes it a lot easier than from us haha. Jk it really was all about the goodness of God and finding ourselves back on the path that brings the most happiness. There was also a little Thanksgiving nugget in there in verse 38: "That ye live in Thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

 What a great time to think about everything Heavenly Father has blessed us with. I definitely would invite y'all to do that. I am really excited for Thanksgiving this year, because I couldn't be more grateful than to be out here serving the Lord. He has already blessed me more than I can begin to thank him for. And don't worry about me, as I have said previously the Southern people definitely know how to eat so I will be more than well fed :) Well, Happy Thanksgiving ya herd me!
Elder Wilson

Church in the front living room of their house. #onlyinthesouth

Friday, November 17, 2017

NOVEMBER 14, 2017

Hey Fam!!

This week was incredible!! From LSU free speech alley, to sheet-rocking a flooded out house, to miracle teaching lessons, to transfers, I would say it was a great week. The good news is that I am staying another transfer here in Baton Rouge with Elder Hoopes and am super excited about it! There are so many things going on, and we have so many people just on the brink of taking a soak, so it is going to be great. 

On Saturday we were really working hard and trying our best, but were encountering much rejection. Finally, as miracles tend to be wrought by prayer and faith we kept going with a prayer in our hearts. We decided to visit our less active friend Arthur Brazel that we have been working with for many months now going over there every few weeks. Our last visit we were able to role-play with him and he gave us many pointers of door approaches and such. WE went there and at fi rst he was very closed off and just wasn't interested in even reading the B.O.M. We just started talking to him about getting his life back and finding true joy again since he was in that terrible car accident. We weren't getting too far once he started talking about his disability check, etc. He kinda mentioned serving in the church in the future, but just couldn't get himself to come back yet I guess. We started sharing B.O.M scriptures about serving and then we asked if he had ever received a priesthood blessing since his accident and he hadn't. Elder Hoopes gave an amazing blessing of healing if he turns his life over to the Lord. After the blessing he ran into the other room and told his Dad he was going to come to church!!! We then remembered his missionary name tag that we were able to order since he lost everything from his mission in the flood (and we got sweet hook ups like pedro with the mission secretary :D)   His eyes lit up and he gave us a big hug. That was seriously one of the biggest miracles in my mission and it came on a day full of rejection and hardship. He came to church the next day and it had been the first time in over 15 years. Church starts at 11:30 and he called us at 8:30 in the morning saying he would be there at 9. We were so excited and he was just talking with everyone at church too. He is totally going to be our new ward mission leader :) Both of the talks in sacrament meeting were about missionary work and the ward totally got dunked haha. Also, one of Sheryl's neighbors Chentha made it to church as well and signed up to bring cookies to the ward Christmas party :) That whole apartment complex is getting dunked with Sheryl out "evangelizing and praising the lord."

I will share one more miracle. On Sunday night we brought the sacrament over to the Porter family and then prepared to teach the Restoration lesson to Bria (the 20 year old girl). This whole story started with a miracle finding out this older couple needed the sacrament brought to them because they got flooded out last year and basically got lost in translation. Bria's mom, Robin, is less active, but very very baptist and is the lady we went with to her church. However, she stayed for the entire lesson as well! We just started sharing how much we love baptists and other churches and how they truly love the Lord, but then totally slam dunked. Bria was asking all the right questions and loved how much she related to Joseph Smith. At the end of the lesson Bria turned to her grandparents and asked if they would tell her how they know the Book of Mormon is true. (they are both converts, but the sweetest older couple) Sister Porter is so blunt about everything it is hilarious. "Mr. Porter baptized me, and he even baptized Robin." HAHA They bore powerful testimonies and we left with an invitation to read and pray. Bria to her grandparents was like, "I can't believe I have never heard this before or even asked y'all why you were Mormon." It was such a powerful lesson and Robin seemed a little softened by the end too. 

Exchange: I was able to go on exchange over at LSU with Elder Dildine. It was such a blast hitting Free speech alley again and the memories just flooded right back. One of the miracles there was seeing this one girl named Jenna that I had previously taught last spring semester, and I was able to introduce her to the sister missionaries there now. It was way cool. We started getting our booth set up and everything when this guy named Kevin came up to us. Well, to make a long story short he was one of the Consuming Fire fellowship guys that is from Mississippi and brings his little group in this big van dressed like pilgrims. They come to LSU and just start screaming hellfire and damnation about once every semester. So, lucky for me I hit the right day to go to Free speech alley yet again hahaha. This time we didn't have President Hansen to confound them, but it was quite the experience nonetheless. Bless their hearts though seriously, because they all just look so angry and not happy at all. We got into a few confrontations with them, but just laughed about it :) It is just sad to see them stand up on the walls and start yelling at everyone telling them they are going to hell while they have big signs and satanic pamphlets that little kids hand out. Just an interesting approach. It was funny too, because they kept pointing fingers at us and saying horrible things about Mormons but everyone would just stick up for us even though none of them were even Mormon haha. I honestly think they do more help for us, because everyone just comes up and thanks us for being so kind. 
Well, things are going great and I am loving it here. Hope y'all have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

NOVEMBER 6, 2016

This week was so great! This weekend Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the twelve apostles came to Baton Rouge for a complete mission conference on Saturday.  He was accompanied by one of the seventies, Elder Klebingat as well. That was seriously one the most incredible experiences ever. On Friday night he spoke at a YSA devotional where we invited as many investigators/less actives, etc as possible. Unfortunately we tried picking up Demarcus from work, but he was gone. Luckily, we have been working with this less active part member family and the girl, Sydney came! She loved it and said she has been reading the Book of Mormon and asking her Dad about his mission many years ago. Elder Oaks and Elder Klebingat on Friday night and Saturday at the mission conference did mostly a question and answer session and it was sooo cool. They were dropping straight nuggets of truth left and right; it is hard to even explain. We also ushered Elder Oaks in on Saturday morning and it was unreal.  Yeah, I would have to say it was a pretty incredible birthday present from Heavenly Father :) Still haven't washed my right hand hahaha jk. In all honesty he seems like one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and is absolutely hilarious. He shared how a little girl came up to him once and said, "I knew you were an apostle, because you are clean and your head is shiny." haha so tender.  In Matthew 7:20 it shares how we can know if they are true prophets and apostles: "By their fruits ye shall know them." I can bear testimony that when he spoke, he spoke with such power and authority that I knew and the spirit bore witness to me that he truly is one of Christ's twelve apostles on the Earth today. He was so humble and even took the time to shake every single person's hand at the regional conference in Baton Rouge Sunday morning. You can imagine how many people were there. He shook Sheryl's hand and said one of the most prophetic things to her without even knowing her. I want to share what Elder Oaks first said when he spoke, "This is the true Church of Jesus Christ." As simple as that statement is, it hit me with more power than I have ever felt before. The spirit was so strong and I can never deny that.

I will share a few pieces of butter with y'all, but don't even know if it will do any justice here:
"I have seen miracles as great as those found in the bible, but they are too sacred to share."-Elder Oaks
"When there are questions put them on the shelf, and when answers come take the book back off the shelf. However, don't put your membership on hold when there are questions on the shelf." I know that for me answers haven't always come at once, but when I keep moving forward they do come. Sometimes we forget that revelations will be given later. 
"Gospel questions can either elevate your knowledge, or cause doubt to drag you down."
"Your success as a missionary and a LDS is your obedience and commitment to the Savior Jesus Christ."
"Humility is a pre-requisite to learning."
"Let your light shine, and if you have to use words."-Elder Klebingat
"Church is a hospital for sinners, not a retirement home for the righteous."

Tuesday was Halloween and we ended up doing interviews and such at the mission home, but made sure to eat some treats and everything :) We also met with Nicole earlier in the day and she is the lady that we found carrying groceries down the street. She is soo solid! We taught her more about the restoration lesson and the Book of Mormon and she was so open to it. She is moving to Denham Springs tomorrow though so we are going to try and help her and then pass her off to the sisters over there.  She gave the most sincere prayer at the end of the lesson thanking Heavenly Father for "this added truth." We are super excited about her even though we will have to hand her off. 

This week we had an incredible experience giving this 10 year old girl a priesthood blessing. She was on a trip to Colorado and fell 70 feet off a mountain and miraculously survived. She is currently in a wheel chair battling paralysis to her legs. Her legs have a few points of feeling in them so there is hope to her walking again, but lately things haven't been going as well. The family had friends in California that told them to have the missionaries in Baton Rouge come and give her a blessing. The little girl's name is Camren and her family are all catholic. We introduced ourselves and then I had the amazing opportunity to give her a blessing. It was really special for me and the spirit was so strong. I could hardly speak the words without tears flowing down my face. I truly felt the Savior's love for her more than ever. Her faith was so strong and I could feel her love for Him. A complete catholic family, but they were all touched as there wasn't a dry eye in the room. The spirit truly touches hearts. Although, I might not ever hear about that family again I will never forget being an instrument in the hands of the Lord that day. It was interesting to me that at first we knocked on the house, but a guy answered asserting he was catholic and just about slammed the door before we urged him to wait. It was a tender mercy to make it in the house to begin with, and a testimony that God will always prevail. 

I was able to do an exchange down in New Orleans as well and let me tell ya the people down there just keep me smiling all the day long haha. Christmas lights are already coming up too in NOLA. We talked to so many people and saw many tender mercies down in the ol stomping grounds :D I know that this gospel is true with all my heart. I it wasn't why am I so happy living it? I have never felt more joy than serving my Father in Heaven. I know that he loves me and each of you, and I am so grateful to have been called by him to his work here in Louisiana. 

Elder Wilson

OCTOBER 30, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was something else! From 4 zone conferences, to walking a few miles with this lady carrying all of her groceries,  to helping a total Redneck family move and everything in between I would say it was a fantastic week! 

We were able to attend the zone conferences this week and feel the special spirit at all of them. It was great instructing on the power to change as well, and interesting that truly when we prepare a message to share, or a talk or something that we are the ones that seem to get the most out of it I think. The goal is to share it with everyone, but I felt like it was directed at me and striving to improve. We shared the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah in Mosiah 27-28 and how they were given the opportunity to change and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Vs. 4 "And they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature." It gave me the chance to think about how forgiving Heavenly Father is and how when we apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives that we can continuously change and our desire to share that same love with others increases.
I wanted to share one other miracle story from Zone Conference. A sister missionary in the mission had so sadly lost her father, grandpa, and aunt/uncle during the course of her mission so far and in all three different accidents. Even with the terrible tragedy, she was able to see the miracles. She shared of how her testimony was strengthened that Heavenly Father does leave traces and signs of his divinity and plan even if we might not know the reason behind everything. Her aunt and uncle died in a p lane crash on the interstate in Utah and everything in the plane burned to ashes except a few items that were entirely untouched without any sign of a fire: the missionary scriptures from her uncles mission, his missionary name tag, and a temple recommend. The rest of the wallet was in ashes. A semi truck drove passed and everything inside melted, but a set of scriptures, a plastic name tag, and a plastic temple recommend that was inside the plane were the only items left untouched? hmm. I know that this is the Lord's work and I am so grateful to be here in his service.  This was a testimony to me that He really is mindful of us and especially his missionaries. It touched my heart, and I couldn't be more sure that it is because Heavenly Father wants us to know that he is there and he has a plan for each and everyone of us. I have the biggest struggle every week trying to describe in words how much I love my mission. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I hope y'all can know how happy I am to be here. Thank you so much for supporting me.

Miracle: While on exchanges here in Baton Rouge I was able to go with a newer missionary, Elder Cate. Everything seemed to fall through in the morning, but that only meant something was going to come :) We ended up seeing this lady walking down the street with groceries in her hands and decided to offer to help her. We ended up walking a couple miles with her carrying her groceries and taught almost the entire restoration lesson! She told us that she is moving to Denham springs and is looking for a church to go to, and when we told her the church she said that she already had someone tell her to go to the LDS church!! She said it must be a sign from God that she needs to go there :) That was super awesome! 
We then met with Sheryl later that day and taught the Restoration lesson to her 2 daughters!!!! All of Sheryl's three grandkids were there and her daughters, Brittney and Nyeesha. It was so cool, because Sheryl has been praying for the opportunity to share the gospel with her family and bore a powerful testimony to them. The daughters told us that when the sisters came they felt a genuine spirit and felt that same spirit when we shared the message :D no pressure at all haha. They are so great, and are going to read and pray about the message!

This non-member lady Tracy got our number from some friends or something and asked if we could help her move some furniture. Once we got there it wasn't long before we realized how redneck these folks were haha. And the neighbor, lemme tell ya, that was something when he came over. LOL Let's just say you know you're helping a bunch of rednecks when everyone other than you and your companion are packing heat haha. Like literally everyone had a pistol tucked in the back of their pants. (Almost like I had daggers on my back)  I guess you never know here in Louisiana especially during broad daylight moving furniture haha, I mean what if one of them doesn't fire or something? ;)
"Be prepared kids." And I can attest that I was prepared to duck in cover as quick as possible haha.  Another piece of evidence of rednecks: We moved this piece of furniture over to the neighbors and find this big dresser placed in front of the front door inside. Now I know why no one in Louisiana answers their front door and why there is a doorbell in the garages haha. Front doors are such a waste of space anyways! It was hilarious as well because I was bringing a piece of furniture outside and Elder Hoopes was just a few seconds behind me, and so I got out the front door to see Dave holding a Rifle pointing at the ground and firing it multiple times, however, Elder Hoopes walks out holding a box full of bullets and only hears the firing hahahaha you can imagine that. He almost lost his britches. It was so funny! We just knew we weren't getting out of there without hearing at least one gun shot LOL :D They then made us some delicious southern delectables aka tons of meat. They definitely know how to eat that is for sure. I love Louisiana, because whatever the project may be there is always going to be food. Whether that is washing your cat, helping your neighbors, or moving furniture you can pretty much guarantee that you will spend just as much time if not more time eating than actually working :) Bless their hearts! And not to mention the time planning what you are going to eat, than accomplishing the project hehe. 

Sorry for the long email, but it was such a great week! Hope everyone has an awesome Halloween and stays blessed!!
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

OCTOBER 23, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was fantastic! We were able to do several exchanges in different parts of the mission and just tried our best to take lift off in the finding investigator pools! 
We went up to Pineville, Louisiana and I got to go on exchange with Elder Gordon from my MTC group. We were just giving it everything and had such a great time serving. It was pretty intense though! He had like a mile tracker dealio and apparently we hit 20 miles on the bikes haha. It was a blistering at least 80 with humidity and all and Pineville is straight hills in the country side :) Good times! I thought Louisiana was completely flat, but I can sure testify (and my legs could for 3 or 4 days) that I haven't seen more hills in more than 6-8 months than in Pineville, LA. I mean it almost felt like the good ol Highland hills of Pocatello! We went tracting at this apartment complex and saw so many miracles and talked to so many people prepared for the message. It was sure refreshing as well. I think Heavenly Father was blessing us for our treking. We met several families and one lady was like, "if Jesus Christ had a church on the Earth today i would totally be a part of it." We were like, "Alright, well we will see you at church on Sunday then!" Sure enough she came :) Haha it was awesome! We worked hard and saw amazing miracles!

Back on the home-front one of our investigators, John, (the Meredith street family) came to church on Sunday. He seemed to love church, and the sacrament meeting was seriously incredible. The speakers were so inspired! He said he wants to bring his wife and granddaughter soon. We also talked with Sheryl at church and she is loving primary. She also had an amazing miracle this week. The sister missionaries went to visit her and ended up running into her two daughters that have kinda been avoiding us lately. They talked with them for a bit and apparently it went really well! Sheryl told us at church that they were being funny but told her, "Mom, after 45 churches (a bit of an exaggeration, but sounds familiar right?) we think you finally found the true church." So awesome! They seem more interested in the gospel now and Sheryl is so excited to share it with them and bring her granddaughters to primary with her :)

One of the nights this week we were out trying to contact a less active and ended up knocking on this door. Before we knew it, an African lady invites us in and just sits us down on the couch. About 60-80 seconds later she comes out with a massive platter of Fried plantain bananas and chicken legs haha. We hadn't even really introduced ourselves yet and she was like (in a west african accent), "You are like my sons. You come in and eat food." So let's just say we weren't going to argue with this African lady haha :D We just look at each other and start stuffing our faces. We had stopped for a mintue and she was like, "Why you no finish." .....we finished! LOL Meanwhile African jams are just bumping in the background. We tried turning them off, but I guess it is part of the culture and she just turned them down like 3 notches, but like almost nothing haha.  Next thing we knew she was bringing out 2 wine glasses, and this glass container with suspicious red liquid in it. At this point we were nervous and completely sick to our stomachs. No worries though, we somehow dodged that one and got out of partaking. Anyways, it was super awesome and we ended up trying to teach this other lady in there about the Book of Mormon. It took about 20 minutes to explain "A pillar of light." but it was great nonetheless. We also brought her a copy in French the next day. "I want to learn more about Mormon book."

We were also able to meet with DeMarcus a few times this week and taught him about the Plan of Salvation. We are just trying to teach it slowly and simply for him to better understand. He is such a good guy, and I just feel this connection with him. I am really excited to keep teaching him and sharing the restored gospel with him. 

This week was one for the books. There are times when I wonder why the Lord so willingly shows us his love and guidance, but then the thought comes to me, "why wouldn't he?" When we look to him he will always look to us. I have honestly come to find the truth about our Savior and the gospel especially amidst the couple times this week where I had to defend the faith and my own conviction. "The adversary knows that faith in Christ--the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles--goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right."- Elder Klebingat I know that this is true. When we are striving to do our best, all we can do is smile, because we know Heavenly Father will bless us. I love y'all so much and hope everyone is doing great!

Elder Wilson

OCTOBER 16, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was seriously filled with miracles!!  The butter is still churning away. I hope y'all like flapjacks! Anyway, there is so much to share and so little time. The lord was blessing us greatly this week, and I can't thank Him enough. 

Miracle: We were doing an exchange with the New Orleans zone leaders, Elder Montague/Bertonneau and doubled in up here in Baton Rouge. We received a text from some other missionaries that morning at 8:30 telling us that we should visit a member in the ward that we haven't seen for a while. He is an older man and since he is a convert to the church especially loves missionaries. However, unfortunately since we have been so busy lately we haven't been able to visit him. So, we kinda brushed the text aside, because we were just so busy the rest of the day.  Well, we attempted to do some service in the morning at a local food bank, but ended up having to leave a little early and decided that we were going to stop by Bro. Shute for a short visit since we had time now. We made it over to to his place around 11 and knocked on the door. We heard loud pleas for help. At first we didn't know what he was saying, but quickly found out he was yelling for help. We tried everything to get inside, but the door was dead bolted shut. Anyways, long story short. We made it in through the back and found Bro Shute on the ground pinned by a metal chair with one of the legs sticking in his side. Luckily, it didn't pierce him, but was in a lot of pain after falling at about 9 that morning. It was a miracle that we stopped by, because he told us that he was praying for someone to come and help him and said after more than an hour he started praying for missionaries to have a prompting to come. Sure enough, Heavenly Father answers prayers and even sent missionaries :)

We were able to teach the Clark family this week and our mission president came out with us! It was the parents, Hardy and Karen, which both are members of the church (Hardy served a mission about 20 years ago) and they have a 17 and 18 year old son and daughter. We had a great restoration lesson with them and just tried to tie everything in with a loving Heavenly Father wanting the best for families. Pres. Varner bore a powerful testimony of how the B. O.M has changed his life, and the only thing he wants his grandkids to know is true from him. The daughter, Sydney, who is 18 has a grandpa that was a stake president out in Denham Springs, Louisiana so he related that to her a lot. We then talked with Sydney about the YSA ward and the activities over there and the sister missionaries already visited her and she is super excited about it!!

On the lines of YSA, we also visited the amazing Porter family that we have been able to bring the sacrament to and afterward had a lesson in Romans 8 in the bible to break the ice for the lady, Robin who we went with to her church :) It was the first lesson she has sat in on for the full time so far too!!! We bore testimony that truly, "we know that all things will work together for good to them that love God." vs. 26. We then told Bria (22) all about the pumpkin carving activity this week over at LSU tonight. She was so excited about it! She told us that the day before she was talking to her Mom about carving pumpkins, because she hasn't ever done it before. And then she even went and bought one haha. It was so awesome!! Heavenly Father truly does know each of his children.

This week also included one of my all time favorite Less-Active lessons/visits. We went to see this guy named Arthur Brazel who served a mission in Uruguay about 20 years ago. We started talking about giving everything to the Savior and you will find yourself. Matthew 10:39 We then just started telling him our predicament of finding a family to teach. (Because of time/length of this email I will share next week about the miracle of a family we found) He started telling us some incredible ideas and even asked us some inspired questions that we knew were answers to our prayers. He then started asking us about door approaches/talking about families. Well, before we knew it we were doing a straight Role-Play and Elder Hoopes was the investigator haha :) Bro Brazel was killing it, and seriously sounded/felt like he had never left the mission field. We almost got him out teaching with us!! Regardless, we committed him to pray about being our ward mission leader :) His testimony is so strong, we think he is just a bit nervous/sick to his stomach or something. Bless his heart for sure!

The investigators that we have been teaching are all doing super well!! Liz made it to church yesterday and is still on track for November. I sincerely have a testimony of prayer. Heavenly Father truly does know each of us individually and is mindful of our needs. He will ALWAYS answer our prayers, but that doesn't mean we don't have to work our tails off sometimes to see it ;) We have to have faith, and sometimes do a little on our part. "For he that diligently seeketh shall find." 1st Nephi 10:19

Well, I love y'all so much, but I am loving the work here. This email doesn't do justice to the blessings/miracles that Heavenly Father is sharing with me. Thank you so much for your love and support. Have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Gotta love that straight hood tracting in the deep south!! We may or may not have heard a few gun shots. #armorofGod #bulletproof #it doesn't even phase us at this point. #I love Louisiana haha

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. 
Elder Wilson