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