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