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