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