Tuesday, December 27, 2016

DECEMBER 27, 2016

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Just a quick one since we have almost no time to email this week. I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and greased up those garbage can lids for some around-the-town sledding!! I hearred ya gon hitr up der with a bunch of snow :D Just stay low and frosty that's all I ask!

I was grateful for the chance that I had to skype the family and the garb on Sunday! That was a blast! The mission president gave us one phone call, and I knew who I was going to call, Walter Hobbs/The fam :) It was great hearing how well everyone is doing back home and laughing the whole time! Oh man, I love y'all and am so grateful you have been so loving and supportive!

We had a wonderful sacrament meeting on Sunday, and one of the members shared the story of the saviors birth found in Luke. It was a small congregation, but the spirit was as strong as ever. Christmas time is such a wonderful chance to remember Christ's birth and life. I loved part of the talk that was shared about how without Easter there would be no Christmas, because without the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ there would be no celebration of his birth and ministry. He made the ultimate sacrifice for each and everyone of us and all he asks is for us to follow him.
It is such a blessing to spread this magnificent news to all. May we all take the opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer (possibly singing loud for all to hear) by sharing our testimonies of the savior and his love for each of us. As the scriptures say, we just have to open our mouths to bear testimony and what we shall say will be given to us. I know that this promise is true and that the Lord will be there with us every step of the way if we press forward in faith. He is the light that we can always follow, for it never ceases. The light that brightens even the hardest of days and the hardest of times. We just have to look to it.

I love y'all so much and hope you have a fantastic New Years! Thank you so much for the love you have showed me this Christmas season!
Elder Wilson

DECEMBER 19, 2016

Merry Christmas Y'all!

This week was a great week of finding new investigators to teach! A lot of people offered us "Egg Nog" this week, but unfortunately we had to decline. :)

It has been super awesome to share the light Christmas videos this December while tracting. I wish we could share those videos all year long! It has been amazing to see people open up more during the Christmas season and have a desire to listen to messages about our Savior Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to me to hear investigators express their love for Him and what they believe the true meaning of Christmas is. I love how the Christmas spirit opens up people's hearts to hearing about the restored gospel.

We went tracting at Central Park (City Park) which was quite the adventure as we talked to tons of tourists from all over the place. We were looking for Santa's sleigh and talking to everyone we possibly could, and luckily we were even able to avoid the "Central Park Rangers" who have been giving us and Santa grief ever since he put them on the naughty list :) They never forgave him. Nevertheless, we were able to talk to a lot of really cool people! One guy that we talked by the name of Barkus was super nice. He is a Zen Buddhist that totally does Kung Fu and everything. He showed us his sweet bow staff painted like Darth Maul's double-sided light saber. So sick! Probably really good with nunchucks and computer hacking as well haha. He told us that he was from Gonzales area and that he has friends that are Mormon. He continued to tell us that he had read the entire Book of Mormon cover to cover and that he thinks it is a "profound book of scripture." Apparently he reads a lot of religious books, but doesn't fully believe in a God or Diety. He was such a nice guy and so we shared our testimonies about how living the Gospel and abiding by the precepts found in the B.O.M has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives. He truly cares about making the world a better place and serving those around him, so I think he will definitely come around it just might take him some time. He told us that he is grateful for our desire to better the world and that he will continue to read the B.O.M so that was sweet!

We had a miracle this week while teaching an investigator named Lily. We had just finished teaching about the priesthood and Joseph Smith when she asked if we had the priesthood. We told her that we did and that it was used to serve others. She expressed pain in her back, and so I didn't miss the opportunity to offer to give her a blessing. She agreed and the blessing was given. We came back this week to teach her and she told us that she hasn't had any back pain ever since she received the blessing. What a miracle. We taught her more about faith and how she had the faith to be healed. Her sister was then in the room and is physically impaired and using a walker. She asked us if we could give her a blessing. We did and the spirit was so strong. That was an amazing experience and we look forward to continue teaching that family!

Also, I finally thought that I had gotten the language down and apparently was getting a bit prideful so the Lord put a few obstacles in our path this week haha. On Saturday we tracted into two families that didn't speak any English, only Spanish. Boy was that fun haha! They were super nice and invited us in and everything and I didn't even realize they didn't speak English until half way through the lesson :) I guess I must have gotten carried away since I'm not used to not getting interrupted after one sentence haha. Classic!
We also have been doing service at the Salvation Army and that has been really enjoyable to feed the homeless and hungry this Christmas season. They seem very grateful for the blessing of warmth and food especially this time of year.

Well, that's all for this week folks. I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas and get lots of snow up in Idaho! I look forward to skyping home on Christmas :)
Elder Wilson

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

DECEMBER 13, 2016

Hey Y'all, 

This week was fantastic! Sorry I have no time this week, and it has been super crazy today with transfers and everything. The news on transfers is that I will be staying here in New Orleans for at least another transfer to finish training Elder Hicken. Some of the other missionaries in the surrounding areas are getting transferred though so that has been a bit of a bummer to see them leave. We were running all over the place, but luckily were able to make one last district excursion to the NOLA Zoo today so that was a blast! There were some massive gators and elephants and such!

It was super cold last week, but has been blazing hot the last few days so that has been weird. I feel like I am in Idaho or something :) It was nice though, because while in the short amount of time that it was cold people were inviting us into their homes and open to hear a message! Most everyone smokes here so that was interesting. Getting nose assaulted by the heavy smokers inviting us inside never seemed so nice :) It was great regardless!

Starting in December I am sure many of you have heard about the "Light The World" Christmas theme for this year and hopefully have been able to see some of the amazing videos that the Church has put out. If not just head on over to Mormon.org! It has been super awesome to share the light Christmas videos while tracting. Also,  I love how the Christmas spirit opens up people's hearts to hearing about the restored gospel. We were able to go tracting on the University of New Orleans campus as well and that turned out really well. We hadn't ever tried sharing the gospel or even went contacting on the university campus ever, so it was a really cool experience. It was nice though since all the college students that we talked to are our same age and very open to hearing about different ways of life and the gospel. It was really cool to share the little light the world Christmas cards with them and watch the short videos together. Many of them were very open and seemed interested in learning more. So that will be cool to continue to try and go contacting up there. Not to mention that they are very receptive and seemed like they were able to understand what we were saying :)  

I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day and especially liked the scripture found in Mormon chapter 8: 14-16 The gospel truly is a light that has been brought forth out of the darkness and of such great worth. What a blessing it is to be able to be a missionary and share this wonderful truth with everyone. 

14"And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is o f great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless. 15 For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord. 16 And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light;for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light,according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God."
The gospel truly is a light that has been brought forth out of the darkness and of such great worth. What a blessing it is to be able to be a missionary and share this wonderful truth with everyone. I know that the Lord directs this work and I am so glad that I have the chance to be a small part in sharing the light to all the world. "Ye are the light of the world"- Matthew 5
May we all strive to remember the true meaning of Christmas this year and have the courage to share the light of Christ with our neighbors and those we come in contact with. It is up to us to share the good news with others and allow the joy that we feel to be brought into others lives that seek it. I promise that it will bring happiness into your heart and you will feel God's love for each of his children. We will be able to further our relationship with Christ and feel of the wonderful spirit and knowledge that He was born to be a blessing to ALL.

Well, I love y'all so much! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season! 
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

DECEMBER 5, 2016

Hey y'all, 

This week was absolutely incredible here in the Big Easy (Big Cheezy)! So many things to share, so little time. The weather has been crazy. Some days I feel like I am in the middle of an Idaho Fall and then the next day feels like a blazing summer day. It has been pretty neat though!

This last week we were able to attend an Interfaith Prayer Meeting. A few of the members of relief society told us about it and asked if we would be able to make it. We agreed to make it and were thrilled about meeting with some of the other prominent leaders of different faiths and express our thoughts and beliefs with them. It was really nice to see so many people from different Churches and organizations come together to try and benefit the community. It was funny though, because when we got there and looked at the program we saw that we were on it. So we ended up giving an on-the-fly sermon about missionary work to the congregation haha. It went pretty well though we felt like actually. I just bore my testimony about how serving the people in the community has been such a blessing and how religion and following Christ can lead people to do good continually. Religion truly is a blessing to society as it motivates people to help one another and become promoters for peace. Also, during the meeting there was a little bit of time for people to share experiences and how they are trying to benefit society, and so what was super cool though was that Mr. Moore bore a powerful testimony about how learning the truth of the gospel from the missionaries. That was really cool to see him share how he felt about us teaching him and his desire to continue to bless the lives of others with the new everlasting truth that he has found. It was pretty classic though, because the very last speaker was finishing up her thoughts and then all of a sudden just yells, "Do I smell fried chicken!?" and just totally walks off without any other thoughts. Everyone immediately started leaving the room and heading for the fried chicken before anyone else could say anything hahaha. Then a baptist preacher just started praying for the food out of nowhere so we were good to go.  It was so funny! People here love their fried chicken I guess :)

Saturday then came around and we had an amazing baptism for Mr. Moore. He has a bit of a tendency to show up late, as do most people I have met :D , so we told him that the baptismal service would be at 5. We then told everyone in the ward that it was starting at 5:30 haha. After much nervousness and anticipation while entertaining the ward members that showed up early, he showed up at 6. Well, at least we tried bless his heart! The baptism went super well and was such an amazing sight and feeling to see an investigator that we have taught every lesson to and worked with every step of the way enter the waters of baptism and be washed clean. Brother Johnson was able to baptize him and it was incredible. I was overjoyed to see Mr. Moore come out of that water with a smile on his face and happy as ever. It was my first ever baptism on my mission, and I will never forget the experience of teaching him and seeing his eyes light up with the truth of the gospel brought into his life. As hard as the road may have been to get him to this point, it was completely worth it. The spirit that I felt teaching this wonderful man will forever be a part of me. I am so glad that I was able to start teaching him. I remember the first time I met Mr. Moore was when we were watching general conference at an interfaith healing center building and he walked into the room and started watching with us. Now about two months later he has been baptized, confirmed, and excited as ever to share the gospel with others. He told us afterward that he knows a lot of the ministers around her since many of them went to school with him at the Baptist Theological college here in New Orleans, and he wants us to come with him to teach some of them! Who knows how it will all work out, but I just found it so cool that he wants to share the light of the gospel and bring others into the fold. 
Yesterday at Church he even came 15 minutes early so that he wouldn't miss being confirmed a member and given the Holy Ghost. I am so excited for what the Lord has in store for Mr. Moore and know that he will be a blessing to so many people here in New Orleans. His wife was also able to come to the baptism and to Church, and we are more than excited to potentially start teaching her soon!

Yesterday it was also amazing to see Sonny D, the recent convert that was shot 9 times a few weeks ago, wheel himself into church. He was shot in the arms too and so it was incredible to see him have the strength to do that. He looked so good! He also brought 4 of his non-member friends and family! They seemed to enjoy all of the meetings and then one of them asked us afterward a bunch of questions about the Book of Mormon. We had a really great lesson with them about the prophet Joseph Smith and the priesthood right after the block. We also had the chance of teaching primary sharing time. It was pretty awesome teaching the little critters and singing in the children's songbook. We had a fun lesson about being reverent that ended up being not so reverent :)

One other cool experience that I would like to share is when we taught a man named Phillip. A few weeks ago we ran into him and he asked us for a Book of Mormon in the Twi language. We found out that he was from Ghana Africa and had met with the missionaries there in the past. We ordered him a Twi B.O.M, but it didn't come for a few weeks and we weren't able to meet with him. Well, this week it arrived and we were able to meet up with Phillip again.  He didn't speak English super well, but was such a nice man. He is such a cool guy and he QUIETLY listens to what we say and then asks us questions. What? I know crazy right. We had a great lesson with him and we are hoping he starts coming to church.  

The missionaries got to decorate the Christmas trees at the church and I made sure to check every bulb :) Well, that's all for this week folks. I love y'all so much and am thankful for the prayers in my behalf. I hope everyone has a blessed week!

Elder Wilson

Monday, November 28, 2016

NOVEMBER 28, 2016


This week we had a pretty great week of teaching! It was a bit difficult being that everyone was busy with Thanksgiving, but we worked hard nonetheless!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to eat a bunch of delicious food! The members here in New Orleans fed us really well too so no worries there :) It was definitely an interesting Thanksgiving and wasn't quite the same without playing in the annual family Turkey Bowl, but it was still pretty great!
On Thanksgiving we were able to go to the huge New Orleans Convention Center downtown and help out at the soup kitchen/community outreach festival there. It was put on by the Sheriff's office and it was just a city wide event where everyone (mostly homeless people/ families in need) could come and eat a nice Thanksgiving meal and receive clothing. There were about 6 of us missionaries that were able to go with Brother Johnson and hand out clothing to those that were in need. It was a very humbling experience for me as I was able to think about all of the things that I am grateful for and everything that I have been blessed with in my life. I was able to think about how truly blessed I was to grow up in a family where I never had to worry about having enough food to eat or having clean clothes on my back. It was an amazing opportunity to give back a little bit and help bless the lives of some of the less fortunate people/families in New Orleans. We were able to hand out more than 5,000 pieces of clothing that had been donated by various dry cleaners and good wills. That was super cool! Later in the day we went over to the Bishop's home for a very nice dinner as well. Luckily, they are from New Jersey originally, so we were able have a delicious traditional thanksgiving meal :) I was a bit worried, because a fishy thanksgiving dinner without turkey just wouldn't be the same haha. For desert we had some Southern sweet potato pie though so that was pretty tender!

Oh, funny story about how we acquired the trailer to use to move all of the pieces of clothing that we were going to give away. Our investigator Mr. Moore told us that he had a large trailer that we would be able to use to get the clothes and that we just had to go grab it real fast. We figured that we were just going to pick it up at his house, but jokes on us we forgot that we were missionaries so free labor is kinda a given haha. We arrived at his "house" and saw his trailer that was completely engulfed by trees and shrubs. That trailer hadn't seen the light of day for at least 5 years, for sure. So, we finally cut down all of the shrubbery with our hand pruners that he gave us and realized that there was just a pile of garbage (gross wood, pipes, etc) on this trailer. Well, to make a long story short it took us more than 3 hours to unbury this trailer haha. When we finally got to the bottom of it we came across the entire wooden bottom of the trailer was completely termite infested. ("TERMITES! break my phone cancel my load" ) Hopefully someone will get that quote :) It was absolutely ludicrous at best! we were using shovels and such to kill them haha. Basically, the bottom was completely eaten through and was going to need to be entirely replaced. The classic part was that once we removed everything we found out the tires were all chained up and locked up so no one could steal the trailer. (like anyone would honestly, but I guess you never know in Louiville) Mr. Moore assures us that he has the keys though so we weren't too worried. However, he comes back (I kid you not) with an entire backpack filled with lanyard after lanyard of keys. I bet there were over 5,000 keys in that satchel. Could gravy! After like 15 minutes of trying to find the right key he goes to find something to cut the locks. In the meantime we were hacking away with the hand pruners haha. We ended up cutting one of the locks, but it was pretty barbaric. Mr. Moore finally comes back with a Table saw (yep, a table saw) and cuts the locks without any gloves or eye glasses or anything. It was so funny. Brother Johnson helped him get the trailer all fixed up and told us later that it was just such a scam haha. That was pretty classic. Only in Louisiana :) Regardless, the trailer fulfilled its purpose!

Mr. Moore was also able to pass his baptism interview last Monday night! We were a bit nervous given his colorful background, but honestly I don't think I have met anyone without an "interesting" background haha. Repentance and the Atonement is a real thing thank goodness! Unfortunately he was going to be out of town on Saturday for Thanksgiving and everything, so we are planning on it being this coming Saturday. Again fingers crossed, and please keep him in your prayers. I am super excited about him becoming a member of the Church, because he is going to be an amazing contribution to the ward and I know he will be able to bring so many others into the true gospel. He was talking to us the other day about all of his friends that go to some of the other baptist Churches and how he wants us to come with him to teach some of them at some point. That will truly be a blessing to be able to teach more people about the gospel with such a faithful recent convert. He is such a good man, but just needs a bit of direction. As difficult as the road has been to help him come closer to Christ and accept the fullness of the gospel, I love that man.

I love my mission because I never know what I am going to get it. Every week is so different and crazy nonetheless. I never know if the person that answers the door is going to speak English, Spanish, or somewhere in between (mostly somewhere in between :) )The amount of people that I get to talk to and have the hardest time understanding is incredible. I never thought that understanding what people are saying (especially in English) would be difficult. (Don't even get me started about trying to talk to someone on the phone haha) It is honestly ludicrous, but I love it. I know that the this work is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone and it is up to us to embrace the truth and live by its precepts. As hard as it may be sometimes to understand the magnitude of the importance, it is truly nothing less than a blessing that we have it in our lives. I love the people that I serve and pray that I may touch the lives of others for the better. 

I love y'all so much! I hope you have a fantastic week! 
Elder Wilson

Monday, November 21, 2016

NOVEMBER 21, 2016

Hey Watcha Say, 

This week was pretty fantastic! We had a lot of success in teaching this week. 
I forgot to mention last week all the chaos that is happening now that Trump was elected. There have been tons of protests all over the place that we have been subtly avoiding haha. Apparently people wanted Hillary, but who knows they probably would have been protesting if she won anyways haha bless their hearts. Other than that I am pretty uninformed about the whole situation! 

Oooh the weather has been cooling off drastically! With the humidity it makes the wind chill pretty icy cold in the evening hours of the day, but we have been staying warm drinking hot chocolate so no worries :D   The last couple days have been pretty chilly, but other than that it has been super nice for biking!

Also, I popped another tire this week. Only the second one though so far, but also the 2nd one this transfer haha. It's all good though since my trainer Elder Glissmeyer popped 7 while he was here so I guess he is just passing the trainer legacy on to me :) haha. Looking back at it was pretty funny though, because literally the day E. Glissmeyer left I popped my first tire and then another one this week, bless my heart for sure! I like to think of the quote from the movie the R.M "In the eternal perspective the finer things in life just don't matter." Definitely true when it comes to popping bike tires :)
Well, onto the work: 
Our investigator Mr. Moore has been very excited about baptism over the last few weeks, but I think when we mentioned that he had to be interviewed by someone other than us missionaries he was a bit uneasy and ended up avoiding us all together.(Which I will have you know can be dangerous in the BIG EASY :) ). Nonetheless, we were able to meet up with him this week and clear up his concerns. Once we were able to resolve the nervousness he was super excited about being baptized and his going to be interviewed by President Hansen tonight! (Fingers crossed)

The miracle of attending a baptism occurred this week. I never knew how much of an impact attending another person's baptism has on an investigator. This week we were able to attend the baptism of the McNeely Family taught by the other missionaries in the ward. We decided that maybe our last shot of helping Mr. Moore progress towards baptism was allowing him the opportunity of seeing a baptism performed so that he wouldn't have to be nervous about his and that it would excite him more about his own baptism. Sure enough, it worked out great! Mr. Moore was able to attend the baptism and absolutely loved it. We were able to go through the baptismal interview questions with him afterwards so that he didn't have to worry about it. He made it to Church yesterday and is well on his way to entering the the Lord's Kingdom here on Earth! 

Another really cool miracle happened this week while street contacting. Elder Hicken needed some repairs done to his bike so we  went and dropped it off at the shop and started talking to all of the people we could outside of the shop. We saw a man sitting down waiting for his bike at the shop and decided to talk to him. We found out his name was George and he was visiting from Chicago.  He then asked about our Church and Mormons. I started talking to him about how we have a loving Heavenly Father that has a plan for each and everyone of his children. He was very intrigued by the lesson and we ended up teaching him the entire P.O.S lesson. What was super cool though was during the message I asked him if he read the Bible at all and he said, "Well, it is funny that you ask me that because I hadn't read the bible for years since I was a kid. I grew up as a Catholic and would read with my parents, but this morning at a restaurant while waiting for my breakfast order I picked up the mini bible that was on the table and started reading it. So, yeah I guess I do read the bible."  Haha so cool! We then proceeded to share with him about the 3 kingdoms of glory and where it is found in the bible. He loved it and told us that he would read all of the additional study sections in the back of the pamphlet . Unfortunately he lives in Chicago, but he told us that he would definitely look into it when he gets back.  It is amazing that the Lord places people like George that have been prepared to hear the message of the Gospel. What a blessing it is to be an instrument in God's hands to be led to those that he wants us to find.

Well, I hope y'all have a great Thanksgiving! Much love from Narlins!
Elder Wilson

Monday, November 14, 2016

NOVEMBER 14, 2016

Hey Y'all, 

This week has been pretty crazy to say the least. I guess it is Louisiana though so that is expected :)
Elder Hicken and I have been working hard together and doing well. He is a really nice guy that loves computers and games. He was telling me about all of the various systems he has hacked into and what not haha so that was pretty funny. Unfortunately, on Thursday while we were biking along, his feet got all caught up in the tires and he took a bit of a spill. He was alright afterward, but he hurt his wrist pretty bad and so hasn't been able to bike at all the last few days. That has made things pretty interesting haha. We have just been tracting like crazy near our apartment and trying to find those in our area that are truly ready for the message of the Restoration. We actually had quite a bit of success though! We taught several really nice people out on their porches while they were smoking their cigarettes :D Hey, you gotta start somewhere I guess! Many of them were pretty receptive and interested in hearing more though. We are hoping to see some of them again this week! 

Funny food story of the week: So Bro. Johnson calls us up and asks if we can come and do service on Saturday morning.We get to his house in the morning and he immediately asks us if we are hungry. Now at this point I had already eaten a bowl of cereal, but we were like, "yeah sure." So he calls his Mom who lives a few houses down the street and tells her to fix some food for the hungry missionaries haha. We go down the street and eat some good eggs, bacon, and grits. Grits is like a weird wheat oatmeal type dish that people eat for breakfast. Interesting taste for sure. While eating Bro. Johnson was talking about ordering pizza and all this stuff for us during the day while we work. Haha only in Louisiana do people talk about there next several meals while eating a meal. So, we finish up eating and head back to start doing service. We start tossing wood and cleaning out his construction project and 30 minutes later he comes back with 2 full bags of McDonald's Mcgriddles. There were at least 20 of them for the 6 of us missionaries. So we end up eating a third breakfast all before 10:30 haha. We get back to work and I kid you not  literally within 20 minutes Bro. Johnson's papa walks in with 4 large pizzas. Now of course Bro. Johnson puts 2 of them directly into the oven since we are starving missionaries HAHA. To make a long story short we had breakfast, 2nd breakfast, lunch, and dinner all before 11:30 a.m haha. We were so sick to our stomachs haha it was hilarious.

Our recent convert Sonny is still in the hospital, but I am happy to say that he is recovering quickly and doing well. We have been able to go and see him several times this week and read scriptures with him. The first night that we went and saw him was on Saturday night last week. At this point he was still coughing up blood. However, we were able to give him a priesthood blessing, and then went to see him again on Tuesday.  He was looking so much better and was strengthening his lungs with a blow machine dealio. He absolutely loved reading the story of the stripling warriors in Alma about how these young men fought valiantly against the Lamanites and were preserved by God. We talked about how because they were faithful and obeyed God's commandments that none of them were slain even though all of them were wounded. He loved this story, because he was severely wounded, but by the grace of God he was preserved because of his faithfulness. What a blessing it is to be able to live in a time where the the priesthood is on the Earth and the fullness of the gospel has been restored. It is such a blessing to be able to share this wonderful truth with those that I come in contact with.

We were trying to get in contact with Mr. Moore all week to get his baptismal interview scheduled, but were unable to reach him until Saturday. On Saturday we did a lot of service for Bro. Johnson at his house to prep his house to be the living quarters of Sonny, Tory, and a couple other guys. He has the thought of turning his house into a MTC type place where learning the gospel is incredibly prevalent. I think this is a great idea for all of these recent converts to be able to strengthen their testimonies and get a feel for missionary life. I am a strong believer that the environment in which people live plays a vital role in maintaining the standards of God. When we surround ourselves with positive influences and people that help us strengthen our faith we become more protected from the fiery darts of the adversary. I think this will really help these guys. So, Mr. Moore was there helping us get everything ready. We were able to talk to him and try and figure out his concerns. He told us that he had lost his phone, and we should be able to reach him this week. We are hoping this is the case, but he wasn't at Church yesterday and so we are still a bit unsure. We are going to try and meet with him more formally this week.
While sitting in church wondering why some of our investigators aren't keeping commitments I thought of the life of Christ. Not only did He set the perfect example for us to follow, but He made the most essential and ultimate sacrifice for each and everyone of us. Now why don't all people accept this truth in their lives and follow him? The reason that came to me while pondering this question was the idea that God gave each one of his children a remarkable blessing. This blessing is agency. It is our individual chance to choose the path that we want to follow. Whether that path is following our loving Savior or trying to find our own way, it is up to us. As hard as it is to see people lose track of His incredible example, I have come to recognize that it is only my opportunity to Invite others to come unto Christ not push them unto Christ. However, I know that the only way for people to find that light is to invite them to partake of the goodness of God and share with them the happiness that it has brought in my life.

Well, that will do it for this week! Thanks for your prayers. I love y'all very much!
Elder Wilson

Monday, November 7, 2016

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

This week was great! The Saints are winning games and missionary work is hastening! Wait a second, hmm, interesting :)

First things first, my birthday was fantastic!! Thanks everyone for wishing me happy birthday and showing such love! For my B-day we went Streetballing in the Hood!! It was super fun and don't worry I still got it :D I was breaking ankles and everything haha. I was serving it up and dinner was definitely served! Let's just say I can pretty much dunk now since I have been doing my world famous 12 week program on the bike hahaha. We balled it up with a couple nice kids too. We then went and got some Snowballs (snowcones) so it was pretty great!

On Wednesday, I went up to Baton Rouge and picked up my new trainee. His name is Elder Hicken and he is from Sandy, Utah. He is a really nice guy right off the MTC griddle! He likes computers and such so that has been funny hearing his computer hacking stories. It has been pretty different though without my trainer Elder Glissmeyer, but it has given me the chance to really rely on the atonement to strengthen me into the missionary I know the Lord wants me to become.  I am trying to befriend Elder Hicken as much as I can and help him transition into normal missionary life. Reading the scriptures this week has really helped me gain a stronger testimony of the power of prayer. I know that our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and will allow the holy ghost to comfort us each and everyday when we strive to be obedient and pray for his love. I loved this quote this week from Joseph B. Wirthlin, "We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of Forever. He sees us as glorious beings we are capable of becoming." What a powerful thought.

We had a few amazing miracles this week. One of which was with a recent convert named Sonny D. He was walking back from a late night club with another recent convert, Tory when they were both assaulted by a man completely covered in black attire. Sonny ended up being shot 9 times in the stomach, arms, and legs. Tory was somehow able to make it out of there without getting hit, but was pretty traumatized by the experience. The ambulance arrived quickly and was able to take Sonny to the hospital before more damage could be caused.  To make a long story short, our recent convert Sonny D, miraculously survived and all 9 shots that hit him missed every critical area in his body. We were able to see him in the hospital and give him a priesthood blessing. He told us how he felt someone protecting him that night and also lifting him up and giving him the strength to call the police after he had been shot. This was truly a miracle and the Lord protected him from an easily fatal incident. When we were able to talk with him in the hospital he told us of his sincere desire to change his life around and truly become converted to the gospel, because he believes it is what saved him that night. I have a strong testimony that the Lord blesses us and keeps us safe when we trust in him and are faithful. I hope and pray that though brutal this experience was that it will cause an increased desire to live in God's ways and help Sonny and Tory become more converted to living the gospel. Don't worry about us though, we are the "Jesus people/church people" so everyone loves us :D Keep them in your prayers.

Another miracle was with a man named Isaac. He was the man that I had previously shared about from the miracle with the bike lock. The day about a month ago that my companion and I locked up our bikes only to be unable to unlock it was the start of a miracle. This week we were able to run into Isaac again and he again thanked us for the bible that we had given him. We were able to teach him the restoration lesson and invited him to come to Church this week. Sure enough, he came to Church yesterday and really loved it. All of this was because of a simple bike lock malfunction a month ago, which allowed us to be led to a man that was in need of a bible, because his old one was tattered, torn, and destroyed. This experience reminds me of a scripture in the Book of Mormon about how through small and simple things great things may come to pass. I know that this is true and what a blessing it is.

News on Mr. Moore is that we unfortunately were unable to interview him in time for his baptism this week, but we are planning on having it this Saturday the 12th!

 Well, thanks everyone for your love and support. I feel the prayers given in my behalf and they strengthen me everyday. I hope y'all have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Hey Watcha say? (Meaning hey how's it going.) When I first got here I was always like, "what do you mean I didn't say anything. What did you say?" haha bless my heart :)

This week was exceptionally great! Today is transfer calls and so everyone is nervous and sick as to where they are headed and what not haha. This morning I got a call from President Hansen and he told me that I will be training a new missionary here in Downtown New Orleans!! I was definitely in a bit of shock when I heard since I just finished being trained by Elder Glissmeyer, but I am beyond grateful for the faith that the Lord has in me. I am super excited to for the opportunity to train a new missionary and help him in anyway that I can!

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween! One of the nights before we went over to a recent convert's house and carved pumpkins with their non-member friend's little critters (kids). We had a blast and were able to invite them to church this next Sunday as well!

Our investigator Mr. Moore has been coming to Church every week and is really starting to feel like a member of the ward. He has been giving profound input in the class discussions and it is really cool to see how much he has progressed in just a few weeks. We were able to teach him the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom lessons this week and both of which couldn't have gone any better. We found that he didn't have any problem with either of those commandments and told us, "If this is a commandment from God and it is what he wants me to do in order to be a part of His Church then I will do it." He has a pretty colorful past and told us that he has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years and knows that he changed especially for this time in his life where he will be baptized. He is extremely excited to be baptized this Saturday Nov. 5th, but we are not quite sure how "colorful" his past is and might have to let you know President Hansen about maybe getting an interview from you when you would be able to. We are going to have a lesson this Wednesday about the baptismal interview questions and then depending on what happens may have to push the baptismal date back a week or so. I am sure it will all work out though. I just have to remember it is all on the Lord's timetable. 

Our other very promising investigator that I mentioned last week is Jason Porter. This week he was able to make it to Church and arrived 30 minutes early!! We were so excited when he walked in so early ready to enjoy the meetings. He told us that he didn't want to be late this week and really had the desire to experience the full church service. We were able to sit up at the very front of the chapel with him and explained the sacrament along with the rest of the program. He absolutely loved sacrament meeting! He told us that the talks given were amazing and he loved that they were given "from the heart." We had a lesson with him on Sunday right after church and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We committed him to baptism on Dec. 3rd! He is very excited and knows that there are some things he needs to change in his life to be prepared for that date. I am looking forward to his progression.

 Well, I love y'all and hope everyone had a great Halloween! We were on lock-down for the night so I carved a sweet Saints pumpkin :) I am very excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and the people we are teaching in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for the love and support.
Elder Wilson

Monday, October 24, 2016

OCTOBER 24, 2016

Hey Y'all, 

This week was another fantastic week in the mission field! Quote of the week, "Hey are y'all selling insurance?" My response, "Well, in a way yeah. Would you be interested in a free quote? We are more than willing to share a message about Jesus Christ with you." Haha I guess that is the quote of the month since we get that quite a bit :D

Food experience of the week: So, this week a family from Honduras in the ward invited us over for dinner! We were super stoked to go to the Vasquez home. When we arrived they asked us if we liked grilled snake. I was like, "Yeah, sure." We were nervous for a good 6-8 minutes before they finally brought out some grilled chicken right off the griddle haha. They had us going with the snake though haha that was nerve wracking at best! I was definitely happy to be eating some grilled chicken and rice, but then they brought out some tropical fruit called Nance that is apparently big in Honduras. They told us how good it was, but let's just say I wouldn't recommend that to anyone haha that was something else. There is no way that was fruit. Bless their hearts that was awesome. Such a nice family.

Our most promising investigator Mr. Moore, "Mr. Mo," is really excited to be baptized! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ lessons this week and really emphasized the importance of being baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority. He absolutely loved the P.O.S and told us several times in the lesson that he knows it is true because he has been praying for answers to profound spiritual questions, and that God has placed us in his path to bring him this divine wisdom! One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Mo this week was when we reiterated the blessing of being a member of the Church and he told us, "As I sit here listening to these messages that you bring me, knowing that it is true, God is bringing me to another level that he wants me to be at. I love y'all and know that God has sent you brothers to teach me the truth that I need." I love Mr. Mo, he is such a good man and has a sincere desire to serve others and will make an incredible addition to the New Orleans ward down here :) 
We had the goal of getting him ready to be baptized this week on Oct. 29th, but we aren't going to be able to teach all of the lessons in time unfortunately. I am not too worried about him though and think that it will work out just great shooting for baptism in the coming week or two. He has already stopped smoking and drinking in the last couple years and has truly been prepared by the Lord for this next step in his life. It has been such a blessing to be able to teach Mr. Mo and to see the Lord place this wonderful man in our missionary path at this time in his life where I can truly feel that he has been very much prepared to be taught. Such a good guy! He has been coming to Church the last couple weeks and has been enjoying it quite a bit. He started bringing his wife with him as well and she is also really enjoying Church. She asked us after Church if she would be able to come to the lessons with Mr. Mo and we were more than thrilled to tell her YES! She is eager to be taught and so that is super exciting!
Another progressing investigator is Jason Porter. He was able to finally make it to Church yesterday and loved feeling a part of the brotherhood in Priesthood. He told us how cool it was to see everyone participating in a deep discussion during one of the lessons. The lesson was on loving our neighbors and helping those that stand in need of comfort. In New Orleans there are many poverty stricken families in the ward/community that need support and it is our responsibility to serve them. He really enjoyed Church and we were able to finish teaching him the P.O.S afterward. He ate that lesson up like a piece of pie!  He can be quoted as saying, "All my life I knew there was more than one place after death, but I just couldn't find anyone that agreed with me." Well, after much looking he has found them :)
Overall an outstanding week! I love being a missionary! Thanks so much for your prayers. I hope y'all have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, October 17, 2016

OCTOBER 17, 2016

Hey All Y'all,

This week has been fantastic! My companion had his birthday this week and he was making 20 as they say down here! We had some good gingerbread cookies to celebrate the occasion. (He is aware that we still have a couple months, but I guess Tis the Season :) 
We did some great tracting this week, but most everyone was "fixin to go to the store" as soon as we showed up haha. Of course you were :) Good times. I am loving all the funny phrases people use!

After what felt like a few weeks and months of a bit of discouragement, the Lord blessed us with some incredible lessons this week! We have been having a lot of success taking members out with us to teach as well. 
One of our new investigators this week seems super solid. One of the members of the ward starting talking to him one day about his life and his religious background and found that he has been looking for a religion that makes sense. He agreed to meet with us over at the member's home on Monday night and we had a powerful Restoration lesson. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and has already started to quit smoking! It is great to see him have a desire to build a relationship with Christ and change his life around. Yesterday we met with him again after Church and taught him the P.O.S. He told us so many times in the lesson"finally something that actually makes sense. I know it is true. This is what I have been looking for my whole life I just didn't think it would be with Mormons. People always say they are crazy polygamists. Wait, you guys don't do that right?" Haha bless his heart that was pretty funny. I am excited to keep teaching him, and we are meeting with him again tomorrow!
We also got to meet up with Charles again this week. We did some service for him a few weeks ago by breaking down a brick wall in his backyard, and he finally had the time to meet up with us this week and let us share a message. We taught a great lesson on the Restoration and he especially liked the story of Joseph Smith. That was probably the quietest he was the entire lesson haha. That is definitely one hard part about teaching down here is that everyone will talk your ear off if you don't intervene. They will starting rambling off about something crazy and you have to gather all the thoughts and key it back into the lesson haha. Let's just say getting through an entire lesson and hitting every point is quite the struggle :) He said he was going to try and make it to Church soon and pray FOR Joseph Smith. Hmm, we are working with him haha I guess that is always a start.
Yesterday on our way back from an appointment we got caught in a "Second Line" parade. It was crazy!! Apparently after every Saints game that we win everyone parades from one end of New Orleans to the other! It was a mad house and there were dirt bikes and four wheelers all over the place. It was intense getting caught in the middle of that. Luckily we got out of there safely!
One of our investigators that watched General Conference with us the other week and has come to several bible studies is really coming along. His name is Mr. Moore and he used to be a street preacher! He is such a good guy and knows his scriptures really well. He has been fellow-shipped by Brother Johnson and we were able to teach him the Restoration on Saturday and commit him to a pretty aggressive baptism date on October 29! He is really golden though, and he carries around his Bible and Book of Mormon everywhere he goes. Him and his wife came to Church yesterday and the speakers were definitely inspired, because they both taught on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and bore wonderful testimonies. I think that really solidified our lesson. I am excited for the upcoming weeks!
It is such a great feeling to have the holy ghost present during a lesson and to see the investigator feel it as well. I love the thought that it is just the missionaries job to bring the lesson __to__ their hearts and then the spirit will bring it _into__ their hearts. Soo cool!
Love you all, thanks for your love support. Have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

OCTOBER 10, 2016

Hey Y'all, 

This week was great! We have been attending a Cottage Meeting/Bible Study every week that is held at Brother Johnson's house and have had much success lately. One of our new investigators Mr. Moore that has been hanging around Bro Johnson has become excited to learn about the Gospel. I mean who wouldn't be excited when you start talking to Brother Johnson and he hits you with scripture after scripture from the bible haha. Mr. Moore is a previous street preacher and has recently found that many of the baptist churches have opposing views about certain subjects such as the priesthood found in the bible. He told us that he really wants to know the truth about how to live a faithful life and serve others. I remember a quote from him this week was, "I am so sick of preachers tellin me to serve God and give everything to Him when they are just playin possum drivin around in their tinted out Mercedes." I laughed and excitedly assured him that we can teach him the truth of the gospel. He has been coming to Church and even watched General Conference with us last weekend. I am excited to start teaching him the discussions this week!

We had an amazing miracle this week as well. Before Church yesterday I was pondering about what a less active member had asked us the other week. We have met with this man a few times in the past couple months and he has been very friendly to us missionaries as he was once one. He is a return missionary of about 30 years, but has lost track of the happiness that the Gospel brought to his life. We have been able to meet his kids and can tell that he loves them very much. He is a really good guy, but has lost sight of the truth. However, when we visit him he has Anti-ed us almost every time. Probably shouldn't keep going back right? Well, the bishopric urged us to keep fellow-shipping him and being a friend to him. A few weeks ago he asked us a question about why the Bible's Isaiah chapters are so similar to passages in the Book of Mormon and yet the Pearl of Great Price specifically in the Book of Abraham isn't nearly as similar as either of the other accounts. At the time we didn't really know what to say, but told him we would get back with him. After a couple weeks of praying for an answer yesterday morning it hit me. I thought about all of the experiences that I have had with personal revelation when reading specifically in the Pearl of Great Price. I remembered a time when I received an answer to a heartfelt prayer in regards to the Sabbath day and being directed to the 3rd chapter in Moses.(That story for another day) Upon thinking about this experience I thought about possibly sharing my testimony about it to this less active member, Grant,  if he asked us this question again. This is really the miracle though: 

After church a member of the bishopric sporadically decided he wanted to take us to see this less active. I thought to myself, "Alright, I think I have something to share if he brings that question up again since I brainstormed it all this morning." We met up with Grant and while we were talking he brought up the question that he had previously inquired about the three different passages of the Isaiah chapters. Bro. Ortiz mentioned that he would look into it and then started talking about something else.  For whatever reason I didn't feel prompted to share my experience and just sat quietly. We continued talking and Grant ended up showing us his entire collection of Ensigns dating clear back to the 1960's. He had every ensign that had been published. While they started talking about other things, I was prompted to pick up one of the aged Ensigns from the middle of the pile. I ended up picking up the old March 1980 ensign. I suddenly turned to an article in the middle of the magazine written by Robert J. Matthews entitled, "Why do the Book of Mormon selections from Isaiah sometimes parallel the King James Version and not the older-- and thus presumably more accurate--Dead Sea Scrolls text?" I couldn't believe my eyes. I was immediately filled with the spirit and without words. I was in utter shock. This had been the very first Ensign and first article that I looked at in this massive collection of aged Ensigns and Liahonas. I then mustered up the strength to mutter the words, "You guys wouldn't believe what I just turned to." I proceeded to share with everyone the title of the article and began reading aloud the contents. The spirit continued to fill my heart as I read aloud the answers to all of the many concerns that Grant had. We continued to express our love for Grant and his family. At the end of the lesson Grant told me that I could keep the ensign for "one of my mission miracle stories." Grant would always tell us a miracle from his mission every time we came and so he expressed that this could be one of mine. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that answers each and everyone of our prayers even if it may seem to take longer than we would like or anticipate. This was an answer to prayers and a miracle that I wouldn't have ever thought imaginable. I hope and pray that this experience touched Grant's heart as much as it did mine. This was indeed a miracle and tender mercy from on High.
I hope everyone has a fantastic week! I love you all and am thankful for your prayers in my behalf.
Elder Wilson

Monday, October 3, 2016

OCTOBER 3, 2016

Hey Y'all!

I hope everyone enjoyed conference as much as I did! Man those talks were superb! We watched conference with Brother Johnson in his little office at an interfaith organization. We were able to invite some investigators as well. It was really great! We are hoping that conference sparked some of those people's interest that that stopped in and listened for a little bit. One of my favorite talks was given by President Uchtdorf when he related taking for granted technology to the blessing of the gospel in our life. Sometimes we forget to recognize the blessing of the gospel in our lives. We truly have been blessed to be able to follow the Savior and live in a way that brings true happiness. "Remember the first time we felt the powerful divine feeling that we were children of the Most High?" I know that when we remember those special times that brought joy in living the gospel and anchor ourselves on those experiences that we will remember the blessings of following the Savior and feel the love from an ever loving father in heaven. Some wonderful talks!

This week was great! The food of the week had to have been the Alligator stuffed mushrooms, Turtle soup, and Calamari!! The calamari was interestingly slimy to say the least, but let's just say I had to spice that calamari up like crazy to get that down the pipe haha. I really enjoyed the Alligator and turtle though :)

Miracle of the week: I was given a simple yet insightful suggestion of sharing a powerful scripture from the Book of Mormon to spark our investigator's curiosity of additional scripture that can benefit us. I sought out to put this suggestion to use! This week we ran into an investigator that had been taught by the missionaries before, but after Katrina had lost sight of missionaries and the church. He told us that he loved being taught by the missionaries and that they brought a certain spirit into his home when they came. We were super excited to hear his willingness to continue being taught. He told us that he didn't have a ton of time on that particular day, but was more than willing to hear a short message. I proceeded to open up to one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon, 1st Nephi 3:7, and shared my testimony that our loving Heavenly Father gives us no commandment or challenge that we must face in our lives unless he has a way in which we can accomplish or overcome it. I believe that he was especially grateful for this scripture because after he told us that he remembered this scripture from way back when the missionaries used to teach him. He testified of the truth of it in his life by sharing his experience when Katrina came in 2005. Through sharing a short yet incredibly powerful scripture from the Book of Mormon we were able to connect the account of the righteous Nephi in the Book of Mormon to our investigator's everyday life. It brought the spirit that touched my heart and hopefully his. I was grateful to be led to meet Ferd this week. We are planning on teaching him again this week and challenging him to come to Church with us on Sunday. The suggestion worked really well in bringing the spirit and I truly believe it reminded this man of the truth found in the Book of Mormon.

Sometimes it can be hard, because it seems many are super interested and intrigued by the messages we teach but then lose that motivation and desire to change. I have come to realize that the Gospel can be a hard path to follow, but a path that followed brings never ending happiness and true joy.

Well, that's all for this week folks. I am loving New Orleans and hoping the Saints will get playing better for the die hard fans down here! Maybe that will increase desire to be a LDS haha. Love you all. Thanks so much for your prayers. Hope y'all have a great week! 
Elder Wilson

Monday, September 26, 2016

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Alright! (Literally the answer to every question down here in Louisiana)

This week was pretty crazy with transfers and everything, but it was great regardless! I started my second transfer and I am still being trained by Elder Glissmeyer. This has been his first area and he has been here for almost 8 months now haha so he was all packed up ready to roll out, but he is staying another bless his heart! Last P-day the Bishop down here took several of us missionaries on a Swamp Tour!!! It was legit! We got to see a bunch of Alligators and Nutria rats and what not. I even got to hold a 4 foot long alligator in my hands. Man those things are cool and tender. The tour guide taped the alligator's mouth shut so we were safe :) Some pretty neat photos coming as soon as I find a way to send them!

We were able to teach quite a few new investigators this week. A couple of our investigators are a little difficult to teach, because it is hard to know if they are really comprehending the message that we share (either from education level or mental issues). Sometimes it seems like they are really understanding, but other times it is completely the opposite. I guess it has definitely given me the chance to slow down and try to teach in a way that allows the spirit to do most of the teaching. I truly believe that this is an essential part of teaching especially in the area that I am in. It has been great though to continue teaching John, the Mormon Helping Hands recipient. He has been really open to learn about the origin of the Book of Mormon and how it adds to the Bible. He has a bit of a Word of Wisdom problem that we can see (and smell haha), but I am hoping that as we continue teaching him that he will have the desire to clean his life up a bit.

We were able to meet up with our investigator Charles Taylor again this week. He has been super busy with work lately, but he told us that we could come and help him with some service.  We ended up breaking down a brick wall and digging a trench for him. He was extremely thankful for us helping him and I am hoping that this will help encourage him to want to take the lessons. He told us afterward that he would find a time, hopefully this week, to sit down with us so that we could share a message with him. While doing service for him we were able to work with a few other guys that were friends with Charles. They asked us all about the Church and told us they are always open to learn more about coming closer to Christ. That was great to get a few more potential investigators from our service. Overall, it was a really great service project, because we were able to help Charles and meet a few new people that had never heard about our Church before.
We also had a really great turn out at Church yesterday. Three of our recent converts that haven't come to Church in like 3 months all came. 2 of them have been struggling with smoking again and so haven't felt worth to come to Church. The lessons that were taught were incredibly spot on with what they needed to hear I think. One of the classes was specifically focused on how we can overcome our challenges and addictions through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The idea that we all slip up every once in a while, but that we just need to keep pushing forward and be better tomorrow than we were today because Christ went through it for us. We aren't alone. The teacher was from the stake and so I know he wasn't aware of the challenges that these recent converts were facing. He was definitely guided by the spirit.  
I am super excited for General Conference this week!! Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Thanks for your love and support. I love y'all!
Elder Wilson

Monday, September 19, 2016

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

Hey all y'all, (plural form of y'all.... apparently :)  ) 
This week has been great! Interesting food of the week had to have been the spicy Buffalo Wings Mac n Cheese at a member's house! I have had some exotic types of mac n cheese in my day, but nothing beats that :) It was actually really good!

We have been able to find a lot of new investigators while out street contacting. I know that Heavenly Father places people in our paths each and everyday. I love being able to share the messages of the gospel and testify of truth to people even when we are just planting that seed.  This week has been a little harder getting people to listen, because there have been many that declare as it states in 2nd Nephi 29:3 "And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible." The Bible has a lot of truth in it and can guide us so much, but it isn't enough. The Book of Mormon is such a wonderful resource that we have been given to learn from Christ's teachings. As I testify of its truthfulness I eagerly see many begin to have a change of heart. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart and know that it is the most true book on the Earth today. I am so grateful for the chance that I have to read from it every single day! The more I read and study each day, the more excited I am to share it!
Unfortunately, our investigator Keterra has been really sick and in the hospital the last couple weeks. She is about 5 months pregnant, I believe, and isn't feeling very well. We have been trying to see her, but have been unable to contact her. She told us that she was going to be released this week though, so we are going to make a great effort to see her. We will probably have to move her baptism date back as well, but we are just hoping she is still committed to taking lessons.

One investigator that we met with this week is named John. We were just riding our bikes along one day and saw him sitting out on his porch. After we locked up and went to talk to him he told us how he loved the Mormons. He proceeded to tell us all about how the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers helped him rebuild his house back in 2005 after Katrina. The Mormon Helping Hands is such a blessing to people's lives. I know that it truly opens up their eyes to our Church and what we stand for. I am sure that the service that has been rendered up in Baton Rouge will be forever remembered by the people affected. We were blessed to be guided to this man who is eager to hear the lessons. We have taught John twice this week and are excited to continue teaching him. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and seems to love it so I am super pumped about that!

I have been meaning to tell y'all about this amazing member down here. His name is Brother John Johnson! He is an absolute beast. He was a former Black Panther member and was headed down a dangerous life until he found the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To make a Long story shorter, he was imprisoned for drug trafficking and was facing a 15 year sentence in prison. He was making deals with the devil and wasn't getting anywhere. Once while in solitary confinement his cell was soaked with a hose and the only book that lasted was a Bible. He read it over and over again and made the greatest deal he will ever make, a deal with God. He promised that he would preach the gospel the rest of his life in or out of prison. He was then suddenly released from prison after confusion regarding his sentencing. Shortly after this he was taught by the missionaries about 30 years ago and has since been the greatest member missionary I have ever seen. He serves people all day everyday and teaches people about the Gospel that has changed his life. He gets a check in the mail from his Military service and uses it for food, shelter and serving other people. The guy is a hero. He knows the Bible backwards and can recite it word for word. He helps us as missionaries so much!! We get many referrals and investigators from him. The atonement is real and can heal us. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. He was able to completely turn his life around and become the man that Heavenly Father wanted him to become.  Please read his story on Deseret News called "Wright Words:Meet a former Black Panther affiliate, inmate, Mormon."The Gospel is the only way we can experience true happiness and I love the opportunity that I have to share it! I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, September 12, 2016

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016

Another great week in New Orleans! It is officially Saints football season so it has been getting pretty crazy!! Everyone down here is a die hard Saints fans haha so it is sweet! We had some tasty meals this week. The favorite this week had to have been the sushi rolls filled with crabby cakes. Crabbbbby cakeks! Down here in Louisiana I have come to realize the ingenious philosophy that my brothers have adopted. "Once you get passed the gag reflex a whole world of opportunities await." Hahaha isn't that the truth :)
We were able to really work hard and strive to find the people ready to be taught this week. There were definitely a few days that didn't go as well as we would have hoped, but I guess that is how we learn and progress. Unfortunately many of our most solid investigators cancelled on us this week and haven't contacted us back yet. I know that sometimes it takes people a little longer than we may like for them to truly feel the desire to come unto Christ. However, I know that as a missionary it is my responsibility to open that door for them. I love in Alma 32 when it talks about planting the seed in the people's hearts. I love the opportunity that I have to plant the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into their hearts and guide them to the Savior even if it may take time for them to nourish the seed. The question on my mind this week has been, "Why aren't any of our investigators progressing when we have taught them what I thought were great lessons?" While pondering this question this week in Church the answer that I received was so clear and almost auditory to my ears. "These aren't your investigators, they are mine. Their spiritual opportunities aren't on your timetable, they are on mine."  I realized at that moment that I needed to put more trust in the Lord and be patient in his timing. Everything is in His Hands and on his timetable. I love the opportunity to teach people about the Gospel, because of the happiness that it has brought into my life.

We ran into a guy this week that was a 100% true believer of the Bible in it's entirety. Well, I guess that is most people down here but you know. We were able to teach him a bit of the Restoration, but he was pretty adamant on his beliefs. It was pretty funny though, because he told us that God's time is from 6 a.m to 6 p.m everyday. "That is why the Sun always rises in the morning at 6 a.m in every part of the world and in every season."...... Hmm interesting. He told us he gets up and prays every morning right when God wakes up and then doesn't leave his house after 6 p.m for safety. We asked him where he learned that from and he told us it is in the Bible haha. He couldn't tell us where, so I guess I have to read all 1600 pages to find that. Bless his heart that was pretty funny. There are some interesting people down here haha I love it.
A miracle that I would like to share from this week was when Elder Park and I were on exchanges in NOLA. We rode our bikes over to Michael's house, a recent convert, and taught him the Word of Wisdom because he has been struggling with that lately. The lesson went really well and we could feel the spirit testify of the truthfulness of what we taught. I know that through the power of the Atonement we can do anything! When we walked back to our bikes that were locked up on a street sign, we found that we couldn't unlock the bike lock. The key just wasn't working. After struggling for a while, we finally decided to walk around and find people to teach and try again later. We were able to find a man that had been waiting for us to come and bring him a bible. For whatever reason the referral was never sent to us and the man just figured we would come eventually. The man's name was Isaac and he showed us his completely tattered, stained, and discolored bible that was missing tons of pages. We were blessed with the opportunity to give him a bible and share a message about the gospel. We are going to go back again and teach him more this week! We returned to our bikes about an hour later and were able to unlock the bike lock. Although it didn't seem like a miracle at first, it was a true blessing to be led to Isaac who had been desiring us to ride by and give him a bible. I love being a missionary and seeing the miracles that our Heavenly Father manifests to us each and everyday. God works in mysterious ways, but I love that he puts people in our paths that he wants us to meet.
I love y'all and thank you for your prayers I feel them strengthen me everyday. Have a blessed week!
-Elder Wilson

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Hey Y'all,

  I hope everyone had a superb Labor Day weekend! Things down here at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Orleans were fantastic! Luckily we made it onto the last bus haha. Anyway, this week was great! 
Our investigator Keterra is on date for baptism on October 1st and we really enjoy teaching her. Unfortunately, our other investigator Odell that was on date for October decided that he needs a little time to think and doesn't want us to teach him for a little while. We were definitely disappointed but know that we did our best in teaching him and that God has a plan for him. We are excited to continue teaching Keterra about baptism and the wonderful covenant that she is striving for. We have taught her the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. I love how the spirit touches people's hearts and allows them the opportunity to feel of God's love while reading about the lives Jesus Christ touched. So cool.

We did a lot of really great media referral contacting this week. Apparently the Church places ads online and on the TV about free Bibles and free copies of the Book of Mormon and then when people call to order them the referral is sent to the missionaries in each particular area. That is pretty sweet, because there are lots of people down here that want free bibles and that gives us the opportunity to share a message with them. We had some amazing lessons with a few folks and lots of them have invited us back :) We only came across a couple of Anti's this week haha. Good times :D
One miracle I would like to share this week was as we were out street contacting. As we were riding our bikes down one of the streets of a previous Bible referral we noticed a guy named Charles that we had previously dropped off a Bible to as well. He was out working hard and building a shed for his neighbor across the street. We decided to see if he had a minute to talk and wanted to see how he was doing. As we approached him he seemed very excited to see us. He told us all about the shed that he was building and how great God has been in giving him work to do. We already knew he had a great testimony of the love of God in his life, but we didn't realize how he desired to learn more. Through talking to him we even found out that it was his birthday that day. We told him we were going to go buy a cake, but he laughed and said he would celebrate later haha. He told us all about the previous Sunday when he was sitting in the Baptist Church and the preacher mentioned something that he didn't agree with and made him a little upset. He ended up leaving his Church early and questioned the things that were said. We told him all about our Church services and he told us that he wanted to come this next Sunday after his surgery. We were so thrilled! Charles is such a good guy and I can tell he truly wants to be the best he can be. We are super excited to continue teaching and befriending him. I know that we were guided by the spirit to meet up with Charles on that specific day and not any other day. It was Charles' birthday and he was so happy to see us. That was a special experience for me.
I came across a great quote this week from President Uchtdorf. “I like to think that from heaven’s point of view, there are no borders. God sees each of us as His children no matter where we live. He is our “homing impulse.” We feel drawn to Him because He is our Father, and heaven is our home. He sees us not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees us as His children. He sees us as the being we are capable and designed to become. May we incline our hearts to Him and remain faithful so that we may one day return to His heavenly presence.”  I know that God loves each of us as his children and wants the best for us. I know that He has a plan for us and it is up to us to reach our glorious potential and become the disciples that He wants us to be.
Love you all, have a great week! Please keep those affected by the flood in your prayers.
Elder Wilson

Monday, August 29, 2016

AUGUST 29, 2016

Hey y'all,
This week was another great week on the mission. Holy guacomole it is so hot and humid down here, and it isn't even mid summer! I feel like I am in a warm swimming pool all day long. It's a good thing I love to soak haha!! We had some great Shrimp gumbo, Catfish Po-boys, and Redfish po-boys this week! It was really tasty, but let's just say it is a good thing they have Pepto down here haha! The food is growing on me though, bless my heart :)

During the week we did a lot of referral work and tried our hardest to contact everyone we could. We taught our investigator Keterra again this week and committed her to a baptismal date on October 1st. We are super excited to continue teaching her and preparing her for that special step of baptism in her life! We have taught her the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration and it is always so great to see her face light up as we share our testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel. I really love teaching people and feeling the spirit touch all of our hearts as we speak of the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ for each of us. 

On Saturday we had the opportunity to attend a Catholic Mass with one of our investigators. His name is Lester and he is a really kind and open man. He has lived as a Catholic all of his life, so that definitely makes it a bit challenging for him to change. He was very nice to us and helped us understand what was going on, good man. It was a really interesting experience though! I can't even imagine what it is like in Italy haha. Funny part of the service was when everyone had all finished taking communion and there was still quite a bit of wine left. The Head Priest guy totally chugged the rest of the wine and was walking all weird haha it was pretty hilarious. I really enjoyed learning about some of the things they believe and building upon the truths. They are all really great people, and it just makes me want to improve on that knowledge that they have even more, but y'all know how that goes :) 
Last P-day we were able to go to the National World War II museum with the senior missionaries down here. That was super cool! It always amazes me the sacrifices that were made to ensure our country's freedom and maintain world peace, for the children. I really enjoyed learning more about WWII and its historic significance.
One of my goals this week was to really focus on how I can better improve my teaching and faith in Jesus Christ. What better way to accomplish this task than to search the scriptures diligently seeking further knowledge, am I right :D?. I absolutely love reading the scriptures every single day. I know that when we really have a sincere desire to gain a stronger and closer relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ that the mysteries of God are revealed to us. I know that it isn't all at once, but little by little, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little we will further gain that personal witness of the truth. I would like to share an experience that I had with the scriptures this week. 

One morning I pondered about all of the times that I had testified that the Book of Mormon was true to investigators. Now I didn't doubt the realism of the Book of Mormon for a second, but I did have a desire to feel that significant truth again for myself because I had so often invited investigators to do so. When I knelt down to pray, I asked for that special feeling and witness and then started to read the scriptures. I opened up to 2nd Nephi chapter 3 and began to read about the prophecy given to Joseph of Egypt about the coming Latter-day seer, Joseph Smith, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. That was such a powerful answer to my prayer. I invite you all to read that chapter this week! It is really great! One of the verses I thought was super cool was verse 15: "And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation." I know that the teachings within Book of Mormon are true and that by following the counsel within will bring us back to live with God again. So cool.  I love that God is willing and desires to answer our prayers if we ask in faith. I know that he will answer all of our prayers even if it may not be in the way we think. I give a personal invitation to sincerely ask for an answer that has been on your mind lately. I promise that he will indeed bear that powerful feeling or thought into your heart and mind as he did for me. I love you all so much and am thankful for your love and support. Have a great week!
-Elder Wilson

Monday, August 22, 2016

AUGUST 22, 2016

This week was great! I was very glad I was able to meet the man, the myth, the legend, President Hansen on Friday haha. He is such a cool guy from Idaho,(Boise), the home of the brave. I look forward to working with him in this wonderful work of sharing the gospel.
A few highlights of the week: 
On Saturday we were able to attend a Nigerian barbecue! Haha it was intense. We were just biking along Lake Pontchartrain and we saw a big part across the street. A bunch of black guys just waved us over and told us we could be Nigerian for the day haha. They fed us some good ribs and such too bless their hearts. Totally classic. 
We helped this lady, Miss Yavonka, move into her apartment. Apparently she has been homeless for 11 months living in a van down by the river quite literally. She kept telling us how we need to have "joy in the journey and be grateful for everything" (James 4 I think). That was really neat to see how even with the hard times she has still remained faithful in Christ. We had to pass her off to some other Elders in that area, but we think she will be a great investigator for them.

I got my first baptismal commitment!! The guy is a stud. His name is Odell Chambers and he is a total gangster haha. He really wants to change up his life and be better. The date is for September 24th, so hopefully we can get him ready for that. Unfortunately it seems like he has quite a few things (drugs/alcohol) to fix, but nonetheless we are setting a goal!

Last week for P-day we went as a district to the French Market. Man that place is something else. Super cool. There are tons of shops and little swap meat booths to buy/sell stuff. Elder Glissmeyer and I are thinking about setting up camp one of these days and make a little extra cheddar on the side haha jk. Our district stopped at one of the shops called Pepper Palace. They had the #1 hottest hot sauce in the U.S.called Flashbang. It consists of ghost pepper, carolina reaper, habajenero, and moroja scorpion I think. They give free samples and it is 1 drop per gallon of water haha. A lot of us grabbed chips and went for it. HOLY COW!! SOOO HOT! I was in complete tears within seconds. It was hilarious. They gave us stickers though so that made it worth it. I have a video documentation of it too so y'all will love that I am sure.

I absolutely love the opportunity to get to know such a diverse variety of people down here in New Orleans. It has been so fun, because everyday is something completely new. Through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ I have further come to the realization that everyone has their own circumstances, problems, and concerns that at times hinder growth and progression. However, as I have been able to look for ways to serve these people such as sharing a brief testimony or message of the Plan of Salvation, I have seen people's eyes open and a desire to learn grow. These people are further enlightened and envision hope for their future. This is the part of missionary work that brings true joy and happiness. I love it. What a blessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in our lives. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the Restoration. Even just after a couple weeks in the mission I can't stop thinking how grateful I am to have been raised by a wonderful family that loves God. I have seen countless people struggle because they have fallen into worldly traps like drugs and alcohol. I know there may be numerous reasons, but I truly believe that one of the biggest reasons is  that they were raised in a family that didn't know any better. I hope we can all take a minute and be grateful for all that we have been given. What a blessing it is to be brought into a family with the Gospel and live in a place where there are people that believe and live the same way. God loves each and everyone of his children. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to share that message with the people down here, because that truth is so important and we all need that truth in our lives.
One experience I would like to share from this week was when we were teaching a man by the name Ketera. She lives with her Grandma who is Jehovah Witness. She had ordered a bible online and so we called and scheduled an appointment to deliver this Bible. Upon arrival at her home, her Grandma answered the door and told us she was sick and asleep. We respectfully left and told her we would come back again. We called Ketera again and she gave us a time and so we went there again. This time her Grandma (Jehovah Witness) was waiting on the porch. We told her that we were there to deliver a bible to Ketera. She told us more forcefully this time to leave and not to visit Ketera again, because she was sick. We had no other choice but to leave. Ketera called us about 15 minutes later and asked if we were coming. We turned around and went straight back. This time Ketera was waiting for us on the porch. I am hoping that she is a golden investigator, because she told us that she didn't believe what her grandma had told her and that she wanted her and her daughter to be baptized in our Church.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation and told her we would love to keep teaching her to prepare for baptism. I am super excited to continue teaching her, but hope that her Grandma doesn't hold her back. We are going to try and set a date this week!

Have a great week! Love you all.
-Elder Wilson