Saturday, December 30, 2017

DECEMBER 27, 2017

Merry Christmas y'all!! Boy was that a treat skyping the fam. Josh's witty comments that would make anyone nervous, Nater sprouting like a weed, and Mels staying low and frosty at girl's camp. Some things just never change :) Tell me that isn't just a stick of butter. (?)

Anyways, I just wanted to send a quick email assuring everyone of my safety here in Mandeville. My new companion is Elder Holdaway, and he is from the Boise area. I am looking forward to working hard with him and finding those that are prepared for the gospel, because I know they are out here! This week was filled with many hours of "friendly" Catholics showing us the outside of their doors haha, but regardless miracles were ever present. 

Miracle: At church on Sunday we were introducing ourselves to tons of ward members and just trying our best to meet the ward, when a lady walked in named Therese. She isn't a member and is going through some hard things with her family situation and finding a job. A friend of hers told her about the church, and so she decided to try it out. We were able to sit by her, and she seemed to love sacrament meeting. It was probably a perfect first service, because all of the speakers shared the stories of Jesus Christ's birth. We had been working hard the entire rest of the week after transfers and getting here to Mandeville, and so it was a total tender mercy for sure. A ward member then invited her over to their house for Christmas day and we had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon with them. She seems so prepared, but just needs a little help with some drug addictions. It is so amazing that she found the gospel, and I know that through Christ we truly can overcome all things. I also know that Heavenly Father always blesses those that seek him. I have found that sometimes the Lord blesses us for our efforts in ways we don't expect. Instead of just sending us to where Therese was and inviting her to church, he prompted someone else to invite her to church and met us there. The work will always go forward!

We are going to search out some of the more ghetto parts of Mandeville and start working more there, so hopefully that will help the transition a bit and make me feel a little more homely like in NOLA and BR haha. 
One more miracle I would love to share this week was out in the sticks of a town called Lacombe. It is a little bit outside of Mandeville and we decided to try and find some people out there. Well, after a while of finding we both felt prompted to knock on this specific door that was all lit up with Christmas lights. After we knocked, a guy answered and looked at our named tags and immediately invited us in. He then introduced himself as Arthur Wilson!!! It was way cool, and as we talked with him he mentioned living in Kansas City and knowing many Mormons. We shared the Christmas Light the World, and he was excited when we said we were going to come back again after he gets back from his Holiday trip.

Well, I will leave it at that for this week. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord, and fixing to keep rippin and running! Love y'all!
Elder Wilson

DECEMBER 19, 2017

Merry ssssChristmas y'all!!!! It is going to be a Kenny Chesney Christmas this time of year! (To quote)

Unfortunately there is so much to say and do today, but so little time haha. This week has been seriously crazy!! It is transfer week and it turns out I am being transferred to a little place called Mandeville. It is north of Lake Pontchartrain, so I will have served north and south of the lake, and experienced polar opposite things I do imagine. I have been here in Baton Rouge not even including LSU for a good minute, 6-8 months, so I am super excited for the new adventure that awaits! I am sure going to miss Elder Hoopes though, we have become such good friends. And I mean everyone has to have a buddy that is a stud wrestler, just to stay safe these days. My new companion is a great man, but might be a bit of a challenge as he has been struggling a little bit with a few things lately. We will be doubling in there so it will be a great opportunity to get this ball rolling. I am grateful for the trust that I feel as I am asked to strive to be an example and hopefully help him. I have never been a district leader before either, so I am excited for that new set of responsibilities. I am sure thankful for the prayers in my behalf that I have felt over my mission, and know that the Lord answers those prayers. I am stoked to hit the ground running over there and continue to labor with the Savior in a different part of his vineyard. As this new challenge and adventure presents itself, I would be so grateful for some prayers for me and my companion and in softening the hearts of the people over there as we begin to open up new doors and bring the gospel to new ears. What better time than this Christmas season!!

I read a quote this week:  "Obedience is the price. Faith is the power. Love is the motive. The spirit is the key. Christ is the reason." There are times where we must sacrifice the things that seem to be impossible to sacrifice, but by doing so we receive the faith that works wonders. If there is one thing that I know to be true, it is that the Savior Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us. However, it is only when we find the love for Him that he becomes the reason we do the things that we do. When our will becomes swallowed up in His will we will find ourselves as we truly are, and as we want ourselves to be. I know that He walks with me here in His work and without him I would be nothing. I love the Christmas season to be able to remember Him even more when times during the year seem to distract us. 

Because of time I will just share one experience from this week: We went out caroling the other night and just had the greatest time. We sung on so many doorsteps and many let us inside!! Who would have thought that angelic pipes made such good instruments in missionary work haha. We met many kind families that were so open to invite us back :) 
We met with many of our investigators and the Haitian lady brought her boys to church again. A ward member helped her find a job too, and so she is just becoming such a part of the ward. The boys just come to church every week with their suits and everything, and are praying about being baptized :) They are 12, 11, and 9. Many other people just so close to making those steps as well. God is good, and as Louisianian's say God is love.

Excited to skype home for Christmas!!! (I have 5 days to make something happen over there in Mandeville. They might literally give me 1 phone call, but I will know who I'm going to call! Walter Hobbs and Chris. (and Hermione o course) Haha jk I will figure something out! Love y'all, I will call you in 5 minutes!!
Elder Wilson

Monday, December 11, 2017

DECEMBER 11, 2017

Hey Familia!! (as Chris, Big Papa J, would say)

This week was super great!! Everything in Baton Rouge is going well. Breaking news was on Friday there were 2 inches of Snow here! It hadn't snowed since 2009 to quote a man on the side of the road. We may or may not have had our morning workout rolling in the snow making snow angels and throwing snow balls haha. It was a tender mercy for sure. Almost felt like I was back in the Rockies except I didn't have 2 pairs of gloves on the entire time ;) Also, I guess cars down here acclimate to the weather, because our truck died twice that day. However, luckily there were some good Samaritans out and about! Only a few though haha. Everyone down here literally caves them self in and doesn't dare go anywhere. Businesses shut down, and people just bundled up for a few days. It made the roads nice and clear for us, but not a soul to talk to on the street haha. We talked to so many kids making snowmen though and most of them hadn't even seen snow before! It was bitter cold, but boy was that a treat. 

All of our investigators are still doing well, and we have been meeting with them to prepare for the 23rd. It was a little harder to meet with all of them due to people's nervousness about the weather and the holiday season with friends in town, but so many blessings from the Lord this week. All of these things just meant more time for us to find even more people prepared for the gospel message this Christmas! Tis the season :) I thought tracting and finding in the rain brought miracles, but then we tried tracting in the snow :) It was seriously so great! People thought we were freezing our buckets off, but little did they know we are from the Rockies and love the snow haha. Hey if it gets you in the door to share a Christmas message, we'll take it! We met so many amazing families that love the Lord and are so excited to follow up with them this week. There was this lady named Tiffani that had 2 little kids that let us in and we shared the full restoration message. She was loving it! Just eating it all up. Most of our progressing work is up in Northern BR in the lower income areas, but we decided to take a swing at a couple mansions down south haha. One of which was actually pretty awesome. We talked to this guy for quite a bit just hitting bible scriptures left and right, and then of course several from the B.O.M. After it didn't seem like too much progress we gave him a pamphlet, bore our testimonies of the B.o.M, shared how God calls a prophet in every time period, and then kindly left. He then called us back for a card with our phone number on it :D That was pretty awesome, and always good to stay on our toes with the scriptures.

We met with Bria Campbell this week, and she is doing so great! She read Alma 26 and loved the parallels of missionaries. She is so nice and always seems so grateful for us bringing her this message. We followed up on her praying about baptism and she told us that she was worried about being baptized twice since Ephesians 4:5 says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." We reminded her of the spirit that she has been feeling reading the Book of Mormon and when we teach her. We then shared Acts 19 along with a few other scriptures to lead into 2nd Nephi 31. We related to her how she was like one of the people Paul talked to when he visited and invited them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ even though they had already been baptized unto John's baptism. They (like Bria) hadn't received the Holy Ghost or had the baptism of fire. The spirit was so strong, it was way cool. She loved the answer given in the B.o.M as well and how it confirmed that. Bria told us that the spirit confirmed that it was true right then and there, and she felt a peace about it. She has set the goal to be baptized and is now planning to make it to church as the semester is done now, and she has gotten off work on Sundays  :)

Well, that is it for this week. I love y'all so much and am so thankful for your thoughts and prayers. I just keep wondering if it gets any better than this. I love sharing the gospel, I love Christmas time, and I really love them both together!
Elder Wilson

DECEMBER 4, 2017

This week was filled with miracles!! I don't even know where to start it was just incredible! We have been doing a lot of exchanges lately and so have been all over the place, but it has been great. 

Since our apartment was officially smoked out we took advantage of staying at the mission home with the Varners, and it was especially awesome since their family (and many little critters) was in town visiting them. We would get home at the end of the evening and just tell them all the great stories from the day. I think we buttered/pumped them up about missionary work if I may say so myself :)

We are really praying for a white Christmas this year and working our hardest to put people on date for baptism on the 23rd of December! We met with Tiwanda and her family several times this week and they are excited about the 23rd. We brought our good buddy Carlos with us and he bore powerful testimony of the missionaries finding him and bringing him to church about a year ago. They have been reading the book of Mormon like crazy and just love it. It is hard to even express the joy I get to see in that family as they read and pray about the truth. 

Funny Story: On Saturday evening we met this guy named Allen who was interested in the B.O.M and then he invited us to his church worship event that night. So what did we do? Of course we totally attended! Turns out the church was literally in the most ghetto part of BR where most of the crime occurs. I look back at some of these places and then look at my missionary name tag and just smile. Sure glad the Lord looks out for his missionaries. Anyways, the church was soo unique. They were blaring music, drums, keyboard, and singing (more like screaming)  at the top of their lungs "worshiping God" and praising the Lord. If feeling the holy ghost makes your ears hurt, then I don't think I want it haha. Bless their hearts though, they were so nice. They immediately ushered us into the front of the room which didn't make my ears feel any better, but it is the thought that counts right? It was a great experience for sure and it was cool because we saw a few people in there that we had previously met/taught. 

Miracle: On Sunday we had two full families and several others make it to church including Arthur Brazel. The Noland family (meredith street) all came: John, Lynn, and Lily. We had a lesson with them on Friday night and especially emphasized the talk given by President Monson just this last April about how important it is to read the Book of Mormon everyday. It was really powerful and it has been a great teaching tool. Interesting how possibly the last message given by Pres. Monson is about the power of the Book of Mormon and finding our own personal testimony of it. As I have been able to see on my mission, sometimes we overlook the small things that are actually the most important. They seemed to love church and are starting to dive into reading!!
Also, Johann the lady from Haiti brought her 4 boys again!! The boys seemed to just love it and found that they have a couple friends from school in the ward. It goes on and on the blessings the Lord is showing me here in Baton Rouge. I am just so thankful for this work, and know that it is His. We have been blessed to find so many amazing investigators that at times end up being harvested other places. However, I have been learning a certain lesson lately: This is the Lord's work, and he will direct it. If he wants me to knock doors and find all the day long, that is what I will do. If he wants me to get pneumonia in the baptismal font, that is what I will do. If he wants me to work my very hardest and maybe not see the fruits, that is what I will do. Regardless, how great will be my joy for laboring with Him. As 1st Corinithians 3:6,8 states, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one, and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." I know that this is true. It is hard to share all the amazing experiences and also the updates on many of our investigators, but if there is anything I could share I hope y'all know how happy I am to be here and the joy I feel serving my father in Heaven during this Christmas season.
I love y'all, and hope you stay prayed up about how to find ways to serve others this Christmas time!
Elder Wilson

Santa came early this year with a set of scriptures for Brother Brazel too :)

Friday, December 1, 2017

NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Funny story, last night reminded me of this season of gratitude. We woke up around 1:15 only to realize our apartment was filled with smoke, and literally the vents were shooting out buckets of smoke from what seemed like our multiple chain smoker neighbors. To make a long story short, we opened up all the windows and doors, and may or may not have gotten our slickers on and curled up in the fetal position on the front porch. Luckily for us we picked the one and only freezing cold night in Louisiana to sleep on the porch. But as I have been reminded, in the eternal perspective, the finer things in life, just don't matter." Still many things to be grateful for :)

This week was filled with Thanksgiving miracles. Unfortunately not a whole lot of time today, but I will share a few treats with y'all. It is seriously one of the greatest blessings to be a missionary during the holidays. I am pretty sure more miracles await during this time of the year than any other there, and Tuesday was a testimony of that. 

On Tuesday, we decided to go to this apartment complex and start sharing little Thanksgiving messages with everyone we could. It is hard to even express the joy and miracles that were seen. It was probably one of the most memorable tracting experiences of my mission as specific prayerful desires were answered. The Lord was opening doors before we even knocked on them :) We went to one of the corner buildings, started from the top, and I am not even kidding when I say literally everyone invited us in. We almost lost track after about 14 doors. Every single door in that building except one, because no one was home. We expressed that we were there as representatives of Jesus Christ sharing a Thanksgiving message abut him. We met sooooo many full families and shared gratitude scriptures from the B.O.M. It seemed as if every single one of them was prepared for the message. So many had seen missionaries before, and knew it was a familiar spirit. We spent 4 hours "tracting" but it was one of the most joyful missionary experiences ever. We went back the next day to follow up with many of them, and had several incredible Restoration lessons with President Varner with us. One lady used to go to the church with her Aunt before she passed away and so is really excited to come. Many were so sincere in seeking the truth, and it was just amazing. Heavenly Father really is hastening the work here during the holidays!

Our little Haitian family that we met is doing really well, and the little boy gave the closing prayer a day this week and said, "Heavenly Father I am going to talk to you every night and I want to get to know you better." It was precious. 

We met with our investigator Allison again this week, and she was able to make it to church. We taught in Mosiah 18 about being baptized, and though she didn't fully commit it was the perfect lesson for her to re-commit to reading the Book of Mormon everyday and coming to church every week. She seemed to love Relief Society, which was a total relief (no pun intended) after a "bless the man's heart lesson of gospel doctrine." Our friend Arthur Brazel has made a 2 Sunday consecutive appearance and is doing great! He is in the process of receiving a calling, and so we are praying for Ward mission leader :)
Quote of the week: After approaching this man on the street we realized he had a gun under his arm, and so I said, "Hey sir, are you packing heat?" Looking back about 6-8 seconds later realized maybe not the greatest conversation starter, but he was like, "Yeah, it's legal, aren't you packing heat in those little bags?" I responded, "Well, if the word of God is heat then we are packing a whole lot of heat." Haha it was pretty funny and we actually got to teach him a little message as well :D I sure do love the South.

Well, I am so grateful to be a missionary here in Louisiana during this Holiday season. The people here are so unique and can be stubborn at times, but I love serving them. Everyday my testimony of the restoration of Christ's church grows. The fullness of the gospel is real and all we have to do is ask. God lives and loves us, and that is why he sent his son Jesus Christ. We can find gratitude knowing that he blesses us more than we even know.
Elder Wilson

Monday, November 20, 2017

NOVEMBER 20, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was super busy but so tender!! One of the biggest miracles this week was getting back with the Noland family, (family on Meredith street that has been super busy the last several weeks) and Allison (the lady that we met a day after she received her first bible). Both meetings were incredible!

On Friday night we met with the Nolands and brought our mission president with us. It was so awesome, because Pres. Varner could relate to them so much about his grandkids/family and everything. John had a question about the usage of Jesus' name in the B.O.M, and it was actually quite the miracle. None of us had even thought about that before as far as the historical timeline, but the spirit sure knew the answer to it. We opened to 2nd Nephi 25 where Nephi starts prophesying about the Savior and when his name would be used, etc. We finished with Nephi's testimony in chapter 33 about coming to know if they are the words of Christ. It completely answered his questions and the spirit was felt. It is amazing to me to think that not only do things add up spiritually and scripturally, but the Book of Mormon adds up historically as well. John and his wife Lynn realized that they have been "letting the B.O.M collect dust" but seem re-energized now :D Needless to say President Varner was pretty stoked after that. Just doing what we can :)

Miracle: We recently met this incredible lady named Johann who is from Haiti. We taught her the first lesson and committed her to come to church. Yesterday she walks into church with her 4 kids ages 3, 8, 11, and 12. She is so awesome and seemed to love sacrament meeting!! Apparently she hid the car keys from her boyfriendso she could make it. Making the steps baby! Her boyfriend started cussing up a storm at us in his boxers with a cigar in his mouth and a whiskey bottle in his hand. It was one of those times where we kinda wished he would have laid his hands on us, but he didn't and that wouldn't be Christ-like!

Adventure: We were up in the northern part of Baton Rouge one of the days doing a bunch of work up there and came across an abandoned church building. Well, turns out it was the LDS church on Winbourne that had closed down after being flooded out last August. The outside looked great, but the inside was totally gutted out. It was pretty sad to see honestly, but just encouraged us more to get things poppin again and try and get that place up and running again. There were 4 wards in Baton Rouge with two buildings, but after the flood they combined them into 2 and consolidated into one building since so many members moved away. Almost the same thing happened down in New Orleans after Katrina. We found so many people interested in the message up there though, so I know in the Lord's time it is going to be back up and running. Great people up there! Rumor has it a few members had the calling of watching the parking lot to make sure no cars got broken into :) Also, we may or may not have been eye witnesses of a kid running around with a black spray painted beebee gun causing havoc among the neighbor kids. However, before we could yell Chris, 6 cop cars were on the scene. What a blessing indoor plumbing is.

On Saturday we were able to meet with Allison again. We thought she had fallen off the face of the Earth or something... again. Good thing she hadn't though! I guess it had just been crazy at work and just got distracted. She texted us this week saying that her nightmares started again, and at that point she realized that they had only stopped since we started meeting with her and so she really wanted to meet again!  We had a great lesson on Alma 34. It is great how the scriptures can be really straight forward and makes it a lot easier than from us haha. Jk it really was all about the goodness of God and finding ourselves back on the path that brings the most happiness. There was also a little Thanksgiving nugget in there in verse 38: "That ye live in Thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

 What a great time to think about everything Heavenly Father has blessed us with. I definitely would invite y'all to do that. I am really excited for Thanksgiving this year, because I couldn't be more grateful than to be out here serving the Lord. He has already blessed me more than I can begin to thank him for. And don't worry about me, as I have said previously the Southern people definitely know how to eat so I will be more than well fed :) Well, Happy Thanksgiving ya herd me!
Elder Wilson

Church in the front living room of their house. #onlyinthesouth

Friday, November 17, 2017

NOVEMBER 14, 2017

Hey Fam!!

This week was incredible!! From LSU free speech alley, to sheet-rocking a flooded out house, to miracle teaching lessons, to transfers, I would say it was a great week. The good news is that I am staying another transfer here in Baton Rouge with Elder Hoopes and am super excited about it! There are so many things going on, and we have so many people just on the brink of taking a soak, so it is going to be great. 

On Saturday we were really working hard and trying our best, but were encountering much rejection. Finally, as miracles tend to be wrought by prayer and faith we kept going with a prayer in our hearts. We decided to visit our less active friend Arthur Brazel that we have been working with for many months now going over there every few weeks. Our last visit we were able to role-play with him and he gave us many pointers of door approaches and such. WE went there and at fi rst he was very closed off and just wasn't interested in even reading the B.O.M. We just started talking to him about getting his life back and finding true joy again since he was in that terrible car accident. We weren't getting too far once he started talking about his disability check, etc. He kinda mentioned serving in the church in the future, but just couldn't get himself to come back yet I guess. We started sharing B.O.M scriptures about serving and then we asked if he had ever received a priesthood blessing since his accident and he hadn't. Elder Hoopes gave an amazing blessing of healing if he turns his life over to the Lord. After the blessing he ran into the other room and told his Dad he was going to come to church!!! We then remembered his missionary name tag that we were able to order since he lost everything from his mission in the flood (and we got sweet hook ups like pedro with the mission secretary :D)   His eyes lit up and he gave us a big hug. That was seriously one of the biggest miracles in my mission and it came on a day full of rejection and hardship. He came to church the next day and it had been the first time in over 15 years. Church starts at 11:30 and he called us at 8:30 in the morning saying he would be there at 9. We were so excited and he was just talking with everyone at church too. He is totally going to be our new ward mission leader :) Both of the talks in sacrament meeting were about missionary work and the ward totally got dunked haha. Also, one of Sheryl's neighbors Chentha made it to church as well and signed up to bring cookies to the ward Christmas party :) That whole apartment complex is getting dunked with Sheryl out "evangelizing and praising the lord."

I will share one more miracle. On Sunday night we brought the sacrament over to the Porter family and then prepared to teach the Restoration lesson to Bria (the 20 year old girl). This whole story started with a miracle finding out this older couple needed the sacrament brought to them because they got flooded out last year and basically got lost in translation. Bria's mom, Robin, is less active, but very very baptist and is the lady we went with to her church. However, she stayed for the entire lesson as well! We just started sharing how much we love baptists and other churches and how they truly love the Lord, but then totally slam dunked. Bria was asking all the right questions and loved how much she related to Joseph Smith. At the end of the lesson Bria turned to her grandparents and asked if they would tell her how they know the Book of Mormon is true. (they are both converts, but the sweetest older couple) Sister Porter is so blunt about everything it is hilarious. "Mr. Porter baptized me, and he even baptized Robin." HAHA They bore powerful testimonies and we left with an invitation to read and pray. Bria to her grandparents was like, "I can't believe I have never heard this before or even asked y'all why you were Mormon." It was such a powerful lesson and Robin seemed a little softened by the end too. 

Exchange: I was able to go on exchange over at LSU with Elder Dildine. It was such a blast hitting Free speech alley again and the memories just flooded right back. One of the miracles there was seeing this one girl named Jenna that I had previously taught last spring semester, and I was able to introduce her to the sister missionaries there now. It was way cool. We started getting our booth set up and everything when this guy named Kevin came up to us. Well, to make a long story short he was one of the Consuming Fire fellowship guys that is from Mississippi and brings his little group in this big van dressed like pilgrims. They come to LSU and just start screaming hellfire and damnation about once every semester. So, lucky for me I hit the right day to go to Free speech alley yet again hahaha. This time we didn't have President Hansen to confound them, but it was quite the experience nonetheless. Bless their hearts though seriously, because they all just look so angry and not happy at all. We got into a few confrontations with them, but just laughed about it :) It is just sad to see them stand up on the walls and start yelling at everyone telling them they are going to hell while they have big signs and satanic pamphlets that little kids hand out. Just an interesting approach. It was funny too, because they kept pointing fingers at us and saying horrible things about Mormons but everyone would just stick up for us even though none of them were even Mormon haha. I honestly think they do more help for us, because everyone just comes up and thanks us for being so kind. 
Well, things are going great and I am loving it here. Hope y'all have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

NOVEMBER 6, 2016

This week was so great! This weekend Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the twelve apostles came to Baton Rouge for a complete mission conference on Saturday.  He was accompanied by one of the seventies, Elder Klebingat as well. That was seriously one the most incredible experiences ever. On Friday night he spoke at a YSA devotional where we invited as many investigators/less actives, etc as possible. Unfortunately we tried picking up Demarcus from work, but he was gone. Luckily, we have been working with this less active part member family and the girl, Sydney came! She loved it and said she has been reading the Book of Mormon and asking her Dad about his mission many years ago. Elder Oaks and Elder Klebingat on Friday night and Saturday at the mission conference did mostly a question and answer session and it was sooo cool. They were dropping straight nuggets of truth left and right; it is hard to even explain. We also ushered Elder Oaks in on Saturday morning and it was unreal.  Yeah, I would have to say it was a pretty incredible birthday present from Heavenly Father :) Still haven't washed my right hand hahaha jk. In all honesty he seems like one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and is absolutely hilarious. He shared how a little girl came up to him once and said, "I knew you were an apostle, because you are clean and your head is shiny." haha so tender.  In Matthew 7:20 it shares how we can know if they are true prophets and apostles: "By their fruits ye shall know them." I can bear testimony that when he spoke, he spoke with such power and authority that I knew and the spirit bore witness to me that he truly is one of Christ's twelve apostles on the Earth today. He was so humble and even took the time to shake every single person's hand at the regional conference in Baton Rouge Sunday morning. You can imagine how many people were there. He shook Sheryl's hand and said one of the most prophetic things to her without even knowing her. I want to share what Elder Oaks first said when he spoke, "This is the true Church of Jesus Christ." As simple as that statement is, it hit me with more power than I have ever felt before. The spirit was so strong and I can never deny that.

I will share a few pieces of butter with y'all, but don't even know if it will do any justice here:
"I have seen miracles as great as those found in the bible, but they are too sacred to share."-Elder Oaks
"When there are questions put them on the shelf, and when answers come take the book back off the shelf. However, don't put your membership on hold when there are questions on the shelf." I know that for me answers haven't always come at once, but when I keep moving forward they do come. Sometimes we forget that revelations will be given later. 
"Gospel questions can either elevate your knowledge, or cause doubt to drag you down."
"Your success as a missionary and a LDS is your obedience and commitment to the Savior Jesus Christ."
"Humility is a pre-requisite to learning."
"Let your light shine, and if you have to use words."-Elder Klebingat
"Church is a hospital for sinners, not a retirement home for the righteous."

Tuesday was Halloween and we ended up doing interviews and such at the mission home, but made sure to eat some treats and everything :) We also met with Nicole earlier in the day and she is the lady that we found carrying groceries down the street. She is soo solid! We taught her more about the restoration lesson and the Book of Mormon and she was so open to it. She is moving to Denham Springs tomorrow though so we are going to try and help her and then pass her off to the sisters over there.  She gave the most sincere prayer at the end of the lesson thanking Heavenly Father for "this added truth." We are super excited about her even though we will have to hand her off. 

This week we had an incredible experience giving this 10 year old girl a priesthood blessing. She was on a trip to Colorado and fell 70 feet off a mountain and miraculously survived. She is currently in a wheel chair battling paralysis to her legs. Her legs have a few points of feeling in them so there is hope to her walking again, but lately things haven't been going as well. The family had friends in California that told them to have the missionaries in Baton Rouge come and give her a blessing. The little girl's name is Camren and her family are all catholic. We introduced ourselves and then I had the amazing opportunity to give her a blessing. It was really special for me and the spirit was so strong. I could hardly speak the words without tears flowing down my face. I truly felt the Savior's love for her more than ever. Her faith was so strong and I could feel her love for Him. A complete catholic family, but they were all touched as there wasn't a dry eye in the room. The spirit truly touches hearts. Although, I might not ever hear about that family again I will never forget being an instrument in the hands of the Lord that day. It was interesting to me that at first we knocked on the house, but a guy answered asserting he was catholic and just about slammed the door before we urged him to wait. It was a tender mercy to make it in the house to begin with, and a testimony that God will always prevail. 

I was able to do an exchange down in New Orleans as well and let me tell ya the people down there just keep me smiling all the day long haha. Christmas lights are already coming up too in NOLA. We talked to so many people and saw many tender mercies down in the ol stomping grounds :D I know that this gospel is true with all my heart. I it wasn't why am I so happy living it? I have never felt more joy than serving my Father in Heaven. I know that he loves me and each of you, and I am so grateful to have been called by him to his work here in Louisiana. 

Elder Wilson

OCTOBER 30, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was something else! From 4 zone conferences, to walking a few miles with this lady carrying all of her groceries,  to helping a total Redneck family move and everything in between I would say it was a fantastic week! 

We were able to attend the zone conferences this week and feel the special spirit at all of them. It was great instructing on the power to change as well, and interesting that truly when we prepare a message to share, or a talk or something that we are the ones that seem to get the most out of it I think. The goal is to share it with everyone, but I felt like it was directed at me and striving to improve. We shared the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah in Mosiah 27-28 and how they were given the opportunity to change and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Vs. 4 "And they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature." It gave me the chance to think about how forgiving Heavenly Father is and how when we apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives that we can continuously change and our desire to share that same love with others increases.
I wanted to share one other miracle story from Zone Conference. A sister missionary in the mission had so sadly lost her father, grandpa, and aunt/uncle during the course of her mission so far and in all three different accidents. Even with the terrible tragedy, she was able to see the miracles. She shared of how her testimony was strengthened that Heavenly Father does leave traces and signs of his divinity and plan even if we might not know the reason behind everything. Her aunt and uncle died in a p lane crash on the interstate in Utah and everything in the plane burned to ashes except a few items that were entirely untouched without any sign of a fire: the missionary scriptures from her uncles mission, his missionary name tag, and a temple recommend. The rest of the wallet was in ashes. A semi truck drove passed and everything inside melted, but a set of scriptures, a plastic name tag, and a plastic temple recommend that was inside the plane were the only items left untouched? hmm. I know that this is the Lord's work and I am so grateful to be here in his service.  This was a testimony to me that He really is mindful of us and especially his missionaries. It touched my heart, and I couldn't be more sure that it is because Heavenly Father wants us to know that he is there and he has a plan for each and everyone of us. I have the biggest struggle every week trying to describe in words how much I love my mission. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I hope y'all can know how happy I am to be here. Thank you so much for supporting me.

Miracle: While on exchanges here in Baton Rouge I was able to go with a newer missionary, Elder Cate. Everything seemed to fall through in the morning, but that only meant something was going to come :) We ended up seeing this lady walking down the street with groceries in her hands and decided to offer to help her. We ended up walking a couple miles with her carrying her groceries and taught almost the entire restoration lesson! She told us that she is moving to Denham springs and is looking for a church to go to, and when we told her the church she said that she already had someone tell her to go to the LDS church!! She said it must be a sign from God that she needs to go there :) That was super awesome! 
We then met with Sheryl later that day and taught the Restoration lesson to her 2 daughters!!!! All of Sheryl's three grandkids were there and her daughters, Brittney and Nyeesha. It was so cool, because Sheryl has been praying for the opportunity to share the gospel with her family and bore a powerful testimony to them. The daughters told us that when the sisters came they felt a genuine spirit and felt that same spirit when we shared the message :D no pressure at all haha. They are so great, and are going to read and pray about the message!

This non-member lady Tracy got our number from some friends or something and asked if we could help her move some furniture. Once we got there it wasn't long before we realized how redneck these folks were haha. And the neighbor, lemme tell ya, that was something when he came over. LOL Let's just say you know you're helping a bunch of rednecks when everyone other than you and your companion are packing heat haha. Like literally everyone had a pistol tucked in the back of their pants. (Almost like I had daggers on my back)  I guess you never know here in Louisiana especially during broad daylight moving furniture haha, I mean what if one of them doesn't fire or something? ;)
"Be prepared kids." And I can attest that I was prepared to duck in cover as quick as possible haha.  Another piece of evidence of rednecks: We moved this piece of furniture over to the neighbors and find this big dresser placed in front of the front door inside. Now I know why no one in Louisiana answers their front door and why there is a doorbell in the garages haha. Front doors are such a waste of space anyways! It was hilarious as well because I was bringing a piece of furniture outside and Elder Hoopes was just a few seconds behind me, and so I got out the front door to see Dave holding a Rifle pointing at the ground and firing it multiple times, however, Elder Hoopes walks out holding a box full of bullets and only hears the firing hahahaha you can imagine that. He almost lost his britches. It was so funny! We just knew we weren't getting out of there without hearing at least one gun shot LOL :D They then made us some delicious southern delectables aka tons of meat. They definitely know how to eat that is for sure. I love Louisiana, because whatever the project may be there is always going to be food. Whether that is washing your cat, helping your neighbors, or moving furniture you can pretty much guarantee that you will spend just as much time if not more time eating than actually working :) Bless their hearts! And not to mention the time planning what you are going to eat, than accomplishing the project hehe. 

Sorry for the long email, but it was such a great week! Hope everyone has an awesome Halloween and stays blessed!!
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

OCTOBER 23, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was fantastic! We were able to do several exchanges in different parts of the mission and just tried our best to take lift off in the finding investigator pools! 
We went up to Pineville, Louisiana and I got to go on exchange with Elder Gordon from my MTC group. We were just giving it everything and had such a great time serving. It was pretty intense though! He had like a mile tracker dealio and apparently we hit 20 miles on the bikes haha. It was a blistering at least 80 with humidity and all and Pineville is straight hills in the country side :) Good times! I thought Louisiana was completely flat, but I can sure testify (and my legs could for 3 or 4 days) that I haven't seen more hills in more than 6-8 months than in Pineville, LA. I mean it almost felt like the good ol Highland hills of Pocatello! We went tracting at this apartment complex and saw so many miracles and talked to so many people prepared for the message. It was sure refreshing as well. I think Heavenly Father was blessing us for our treking. We met several families and one lady was like, "if Jesus Christ had a church on the Earth today i would totally be a part of it." We were like, "Alright, well we will see you at church on Sunday then!" Sure enough she came :) Haha it was awesome! We worked hard and saw amazing miracles!

Back on the home-front one of our investigators, John, (the Meredith street family) came to church on Sunday. He seemed to love church, and the sacrament meeting was seriously incredible. The speakers were so inspired! He said he wants to bring his wife and granddaughter soon. We also talked with Sheryl at church and she is loving primary. She also had an amazing miracle this week. The sister missionaries went to visit her and ended up running into her two daughters that have kinda been avoiding us lately. They talked with them for a bit and apparently it went really well! Sheryl told us at church that they were being funny but told her, "Mom, after 45 churches (a bit of an exaggeration, but sounds familiar right?) we think you finally found the true church." So awesome! They seem more interested in the gospel now and Sheryl is so excited to share it with them and bring her granddaughters to primary with her :)

One of the nights this week we were out trying to contact a less active and ended up knocking on this door. Before we knew it, an African lady invites us in and just sits us down on the couch. About 60-80 seconds later she comes out with a massive platter of Fried plantain bananas and chicken legs haha. We hadn't even really introduced ourselves yet and she was like (in a west african accent), "You are like my sons. You come in and eat food." So let's just say we weren't going to argue with this African lady haha :D We just look at each other and start stuffing our faces. We had stopped for a mintue and she was like, "Why you no finish." .....we finished! LOL Meanwhile African jams are just bumping in the background. We tried turning them off, but I guess it is part of the culture and she just turned them down like 3 notches, but like almost nothing haha.  Next thing we knew she was bringing out 2 wine glasses, and this glass container with suspicious red liquid in it. At this point we were nervous and completely sick to our stomachs. No worries though, we somehow dodged that one and got out of partaking. Anyways, it was super awesome and we ended up trying to teach this other lady in there about the Book of Mormon. It took about 20 minutes to explain "A pillar of light." but it was great nonetheless. We also brought her a copy in French the next day. "I want to learn more about Mormon book."

We were also able to meet with DeMarcus a few times this week and taught him about the Plan of Salvation. We are just trying to teach it slowly and simply for him to better understand. He is such a good guy, and I just feel this connection with him. I am really excited to keep teaching him and sharing the restored gospel with him. 

This week was one for the books. There are times when I wonder why the Lord so willingly shows us his love and guidance, but then the thought comes to me, "why wouldn't he?" When we look to him he will always look to us. I have honestly come to find the truth about our Savior and the gospel especially amidst the couple times this week where I had to defend the faith and my own conviction. "The adversary knows that faith in Christ--the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles--goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right."- Elder Klebingat I know that this is true. When we are striving to do our best, all we can do is smile, because we know Heavenly Father will bless us. I love y'all so much and hope everyone is doing great!

Elder Wilson

OCTOBER 16, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was seriously filled with miracles!!  The butter is still churning away. I hope y'all like flapjacks! Anyway, there is so much to share and so little time. The lord was blessing us greatly this week, and I can't thank Him enough. 

Miracle: We were doing an exchange with the New Orleans zone leaders, Elder Montague/Bertonneau and doubled in up here in Baton Rouge. We received a text from some other missionaries that morning at 8:30 telling us that we should visit a member in the ward that we haven't seen for a while. He is an older man and since he is a convert to the church especially loves missionaries. However, unfortunately since we have been so busy lately we haven't been able to visit him. So, we kinda brushed the text aside, because we were just so busy the rest of the day.  Well, we attempted to do some service in the morning at a local food bank, but ended up having to leave a little early and decided that we were going to stop by Bro. Shute for a short visit since we had time now. We made it over to to his place around 11 and knocked on the door. We heard loud pleas for help. At first we didn't know what he was saying, but quickly found out he was yelling for help. We tried everything to get inside, but the door was dead bolted shut. Anyways, long story short. We made it in through the back and found Bro Shute on the ground pinned by a metal chair with one of the legs sticking in his side. Luckily, it didn't pierce him, but was in a lot of pain after falling at about 9 that morning. It was a miracle that we stopped by, because he told us that he was praying for someone to come and help him and said after more than an hour he started praying for missionaries to have a prompting to come. Sure enough, Heavenly Father answers prayers and even sent missionaries :)

We were able to teach the Clark family this week and our mission president came out with us! It was the parents, Hardy and Karen, which both are members of the church (Hardy served a mission about 20 years ago) and they have a 17 and 18 year old son and daughter. We had a great restoration lesson with them and just tried to tie everything in with a loving Heavenly Father wanting the best for families. Pres. Varner bore a powerful testimony of how the B. O.M has changed his life, and the only thing he wants his grandkids to know is true from him. The daughter, Sydney, who is 18 has a grandpa that was a stake president out in Denham Springs, Louisiana so he related that to her a lot. We then talked with Sydney about the YSA ward and the activities over there and the sister missionaries already visited her and she is super excited about it!!

On the lines of YSA, we also visited the amazing Porter family that we have been able to bring the sacrament to and afterward had a lesson in Romans 8 in the bible to break the ice for the lady, Robin who we went with to her church :) It was the first lesson she has sat in on for the full time so far too!!! We bore testimony that truly, "we know that all things will work together for good to them that love God." vs. 26. We then told Bria (22) all about the pumpkin carving activity this week over at LSU tonight. She was so excited about it! She told us that the day before she was talking to her Mom about carving pumpkins, because she hasn't ever done it before. And then she even went and bought one haha. It was so awesome!! Heavenly Father truly does know each of his children.

This week also included one of my all time favorite Less-Active lessons/visits. We went to see this guy named Arthur Brazel who served a mission in Uruguay about 20 years ago. We started talking about giving everything to the Savior and you will find yourself. Matthew 10:39 We then just started telling him our predicament of finding a family to teach. (Because of time/length of this email I will share next week about the miracle of a family we found) He started telling us some incredible ideas and even asked us some inspired questions that we knew were answers to our prayers. He then started asking us about door approaches/talking about families. Well, before we knew it we were doing a straight Role-Play and Elder Hoopes was the investigator haha :) Bro Brazel was killing it, and seriously sounded/felt like he had never left the mission field. We almost got him out teaching with us!! Regardless, we committed him to pray about being our ward mission leader :) His testimony is so strong, we think he is just a bit nervous/sick to his stomach or something. Bless his heart for sure!

The investigators that we have been teaching are all doing super well!! Liz made it to church yesterday and is still on track for November. I sincerely have a testimony of prayer. Heavenly Father truly does know each of us individually and is mindful of our needs. He will ALWAYS answer our prayers, but that doesn't mean we don't have to work our tails off sometimes to see it ;) We have to have faith, and sometimes do a little on our part. "For he that diligently seeketh shall find." 1st Nephi 10:19

Well, I love y'all so much, but I am loving the work here. This email doesn't do justice to the blessings/miracles that Heavenly Father is sharing with me. Thank you so much for your love and support. Have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Gotta love that straight hood tracting in the deep south!! We may or may not have heard a few gun shots. #armorofGod #bulletproof #it doesn't even phase us at this point. #I love Louisiana haha

Monday, October 9, 2017

OCTOBER 9, 2017

Hey y'all,

This last week was pretty great!! It was nice to be able to get back into the swing of things for the most part, although with the Hurricane hitting New Orleans and having to evacuate tons of missionaries it still ended up being a little hectic. Luckily it was a small hurricane and there didn't seem to be too much flooding. Also, our mission is adding 6 more areas from the Slidell stake/from the Mississippi Mission this week so that is exciting!!

Miracle: On Saturday there were many missionaries having to stay in Baton Rouge because of the Hurricane, so that meant a lot of exchanges and working our area like crazy. I learned a very important lesson that day. I was able to go out teaching in a trio with two new missionaries the whole day and learned so much. We gave everything we could possibly muster. From 10 a.m to 9 p.m with a short lunch break we worked our tails off. We talked with so many people and taught many great lessons, however, for some reason after the long day I didn't seem too satisfied. I felt like the Lord kept prompting us to go to places that were full of rejection. It was almost like we were going to the complete opposite places that we were supposed to be going. The lessons we taught were to older people that seemed pretty comfortable and stuck in their catholic/Methodist ways. So by the end of the night, I personally didn't quite think it was the greatest of days. It was when we got back that night though when Elder Mechling (one of the missionaries that got here last Wednesday) thanked me for the day of work and said, "This has been the greatest and most productive day of my whole mission so far." It had been his first week, and I could tell that he had been struggling. Finally the lesson hit me, I realized that even though I may not have seen the "success" that I may have liked or was looking for, it was actually the fact that he had had the greatest day of his mission so far. He finally felt like he had taught lessons and found people to teach. I realized that we had done everything we possibly could and given everything to the Lord. I realized that it wasn't about me. This was the Lord's work and he was going to teach me something while blessing one of his new missionaries. I realized that we had seen miracles, including stopping at a local gas station to use the bathroom, only to find one of his lost sheep that has a daughter that is a member in Provo. I could share more of the miracles that we saw, but the most eye opening miracle to me was this experience of working our very hardest and maybe not seeing the immediate fruits.

I wanted to share a spiritual thought from general conference: The talk given by President Russel M. Nelson stuck out to me a lot. He asked 3 very profound questions. One was, "What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?" I have been thinking a lot about this question. The B.O.M means everything to me. From being on my mission and seeing so many people without this knowledge I have truly realized how lost I would be without it. I would struggle to know if my Heavenly Father really does love me, or even if there is a God above. I would be so confused, and honestly so frustrated due to the countless interpretations of the Bible even though it is, "the perfect word of God and all we need to be saved," as many say. I think I would come to despise religion and religious practices as many do here, not because I wouldn't believe in a God above, but because I would be irritated that he would leave us all wandering around clueless to the true plan of salvation. I wouldn't truly know that there is a Savior that suffered and died for me and that He loves me. Why? Because without the Book of Mormon all Jesus Christ is known to be is a man that lived in the middle eastern countries working "magic tricks" or so called miracles, as people say, thousands of years ago, and we find this in a book known as the "word of God" yet it has been translated numerous times by scholars. Rather, the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and the reality of his life. It also confirms the truth and testimony of the Bible. Although both of these things are imperative, it gives me the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ as my brother and redeemer, that He is the savior of the entire world, and that he visited all of his sheep. It allows me to gain a relationship with my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ, because it is true. Alma 5:45-46 is how I know that it is true. It has brought me so much peace and happiness in my life that I will be forever indebted to my Heavenly Father for. I am so grateful to share this with everyone. 

Yesterday Sheryl got a calling in church!! She has been called to the calling with many of the most humble, loving, and righteous people I have ever known. A primary teacher :)  just like my Mama, I love you Mom! She was so happy, and I am so thrilled for her. 

 I was also able to go on a little church swap for a little bit to the LSU/  YSA ward to introduce the members to one of the guys we have been teaching, DeMarcus. He is 22 and such a stud! That was awesome seeing everyone there again and getting DeMarcus transitioned over there.

Well, I sure do love the work here. I hope y'all are doing great! Stay prayed up. 
Elder Wilson

Thursday, October 5, 2017

OCTOBER 5, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was truly filled with miracles. I wish I could share everything, but yet again there is just no time. This week was transfers in the mission and so that put us to work for several days ripping and running making sure everything goes smoothly, as well as getting the new missionaries/sending off the ones heading home. I know I have shared this before, but the greatest part is definitely picking up the new missionaries from the airport. Every time I am reminded of the mental nervousness/excitement of embarking on a 2 year journey, baby stepping off the plane, clenching the hand rail of the escalator, and hitting the Louisiana humidity. All of which just hit ya like a hotcake in their own ways. However, I was glad to be there to hopefully lessen the anxiety, and crack a smile by making a fool out of myself.... again :) "There goes Chris again." It's all good I only got a few weird looks haha. Some of the new missionaries started asking about the alligators and let's just say everyone was clueless/nervous, one of the two, when I mentioned Gatorade. Bless mine and their hearts. I am always so grateful to share my testimony with them though, because it gives me the chance to look back at the amazing moments I have been blessed to experience so far on my mission, and hopefully excite them about their missions.

I hope y'all loved general conference as much as I did! I am always so inspired by the messages shared and feel like all of them were directed right for me. It is so amazing to receive answers to questions every single time as well. I wanted to share a miracle from the week that ties completely in with one of the talks given. I was reminded of the talk given by Sister Oscarson called "The needs before us." One thing she said was,"Ask your Heavenly Father to show you those around you who need your help and to inspire you on how to best serve them. Remember that the Savior most often ministered to one person at a time." About 2 weeks ago, Elder Hoopes and I were out contacting in a neighborhood and found a father and a son out shooting baskets. We decided to reach out to them and start shooting and introducing ourselves. Insert parable of the talents :) Well, for the sake of time we introduced ourselves to the mother and found out they have 5 kids. All 5 of them rushed out and we started handing out  pictures of Jesus. We then scheduled a time to sit down and have a lesson with their family. The day came, and this family is amazing! The mother, Toy, told us that she was physically stopped when we came to the door and felt impressed to let us tell her who we were. She and the father, Barry, then told us that they had been praying for a blessing from God to show them what to do for their family. That was amazing in and of itself. Before we had even met them the first time, Toy, had already ordered a Book of Mormon and got off work early just to be there for the lesson. So awesome!!! We have met with them a few times now and every single time they have all 5 of their kids sitting down at the dinner table and they are all so intent on the lesson. Well, to go back to this talk given, we had been praying about ward members that could help fellowship this family and felt inspired to ask this incredible single mother to "help us," Jacenta. She excitedly said yes, and we were so happy because so many people fell through. At the lesson she bore a powerful testimony of how she was praying that morning for "the opportunity to help someone that day." She then received a text from the missionaries :) The lesson was amazing and the family accepted a baptismal date for October 28th all together. All of the kids haven't been baptized before and many of them sincerely asked their parents why, only to receive the answer of a sorry mother and father finally understanding why they had to wait until now. I testify of the power of prayer and that Heavenly Father truly does put us in the positions to serve others, if we let him. But how much more the blessings for it? The Thomas family is so special and it has been amazing teaching them the restored gospel.

The other family that lives on Meredith street was able to watch the Sunday afternoon session and loved the talk given by Tad R. Callister defending the Book of Mormon. I was so uplifted by that talk and many others. Well, I will write more next week and share a few of my thoughts about general conference. I sure do love y'all and am so grateful for each of you in my life. The Lord is blessing us greatly and I just can't adequately express my love for the Savior Jesus Christ and his work here in Louisiana. The people are so different, but I love them. 

Elder Wilson

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Hey y'all

Where do I even start. This week was such an amazing week filled with miracles and blessings.

On Monday night we went to a part members/less active family's home for FHE and had a lesson on the Book of Mormon and doing everything in our power to find out for ourselves if it is true. Marcus is married to a non-member and unfortunately been struggling with his faith, and his brother James is 22 and has been less active as well. Both haven't come to church for over a year now and so we have been really trying to help them. It was cool too, because James invited his friend Milan to the lesson and rumor has it she made it to church yesterday in Houston! We introduced Milan to the B.O.M briefly and then started sharing Alma 22 about giving everything to the Lord. The spirit was so strong especially as James started bearing his testimony. (again, he hasn't been active for at least a year) Everyone committed, but sadly Brikea (Marcus' wife) just doesn't seem ready yet. Regardless, we truly felt the spirit touched everyone there and everyone committed to finding out the truth.  On Saturday we picked up James in the morning and went out teaching with him! We ended up finding this really cool guy named Mark and taught him the restoration and James invited him out to church!!! Wait, what? we were shocked, because we have been inviting James to come to church with us for a couple months now, and here he is inviting an investigator to come with him! Long story short, James went over Sunday morning to pick up Mark but unfortunately Mark had to head off to work, but James AND Marcus both came to church together!!!!! :D It was soo good to see them there, and the Stake President even reached out to them and expressed his love to see them there. That was a miracle for sure. 

Yesterday morning we went with an inactive member Robin (she is the daughter of the Porter's/the elderly couple we bring the sacrament) to her church and it was a full on Southern Baptist church, like as good as it gets! It was quite the experience let me tell ya. Also, the interesting thing is that Robin stopped going to the LDS church when she was like 20 because of a few things possibly including marrying a baptist husband and social barriers based on race/ethnicity that were prevalent back in the day. Anyways, we think it meant a lot to her, because we had part of that same experience yesterday at the baptist church, but absolutely had a great time!! Let's just say I have never heard more sincere prayers being completely yelled and screamed out loud haha. I will share a few highlights: They had a full size band with the big ol drum set, electric guitar, electric keyboard, massive background choir singing praises, the whole works. Just about anything you can think of haha :) It was pretty funny and hard to keep a straight face at times hearing, "Yes, lord! HMMM. That's it. Yes Lord that's it!! Give it to me Jesus. Come on now! Literally after every phrase the pastor said :D And yes, the pastors all over Louisiana use the same style: Beginning with their nose in da book, starting low and slow, and then moving higher, and then catching on fire/yelling by the end of the sermon haha. The pastor was getting blue in the face by the end of that haha bless his heart. Also, it isn't a good sermon without mentioning Washington D.C/politics and how our leaders overlook the scripture, "As I have loved you, love one another." As well as bitter feelings from North Baton Rouge to South Baton Rouge. Not sure what is going on there haha, but bless everyone's hearts! The QUOTE OF THE MORNING had to have been the pastor yelling, "Open up your pocket books... AND Share the Loove!!" and then of course quoting a bible scripture. I hope I don't sound like I am belittling them at all though. I absolutely loved it for the experience and the people were seriously some of the nicest people I have met. They were super kind and friendly. Like they even had us stand as they introduced us and shared what church we were from :) Just great people. We even got stopped like 5 times on our way out from people. That whole congregation is getting dunked sooner than later, just wait haha! We then made it back for our ward and it was a stark difference. I sure enjoyed the service, but I don't know how they feel the spirit with all the yelling and rock band-ing going on. I was grateful for the refreshing spirit dunk at sacrament meeting :D 
Later in the afternoon we brought the sacrament over to the Porters and Robin sat in for the entire lesson this time! She usually leaves the room so that was awesome. I think we are starting to break down those walls. Also, after a few minutes Robin answers her phone and it was Bria. She told her "Yeah, the Elders are still here." Let's goo!  Robin's daughter Bria came back from work and was excited to meet with us again. Everyone shared their miracles/tender mercies from the week and then we talked with Bria about the YSA activities over on LSU. She seemed super interested in going, like she was just waiting for an invitation. One of her co workers is a member and goes to all the LSU YSA activities too so she is going to invite Bria for tonight. 

At church Liz came and is doing really well! Unfortunately her boyfriend Bret is going out of town the whole month of October, so we are planning for her baptism in the beginning of November. She said she is grateful for the extra time to just keep learning though, so I guess that is good. We tried sitting by Sheryl at church, but it looks like she has made other friends and everyone wants to sit by her :) We then asked her about general conference and she continued telling us all of the members that have invited her over to their house for the sessions. That sure made us smile! No one invites us over to watch general conference, but they sure invite Sheryl :) Jk, we are in good hands!

We attended the Baton Rouge and New Orleans zone conferences and that was yet another opportunity to strengthen my testimony of being representatives of Jesus Christ out here sharing the fullness of his gospel. The greatest miracle I will have experienced on my mission is the opportunity to draw closer to my savior and feeling of his love. He helps me every single day and I know this is his work. I couldn't do it without Him. I then went on exchanges down in New Orleans with one of the Spanish zone leaders and that was neat. It is interesting how things I once studied and learned just flooded right back from the spirit, and I was somehow able to understand a lot of the Spanish lessons/ members. Anyways, things are going super well, and we are really working hard. There are so many things I would love to share, but no time and y'all are probably tired of reading at this point haha.  Well, I hope everyone enjoys General Conference this week. I am really excited about it! 

Elder Wilson

Thursday, September 14, 2017

SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was another fantastic week as a missionary!! I learned a lot this week not only about the gospel and following Jesus Christ, but about the deep south all the way back to the 1930's. We met with the Porter family again after church and brought them the sacrament and then before having a lesson with the whole family we got to hear what it was like to grow up during segregated times in the South. Brother Porter grew up in Baton Rouge and Sister Porter in New Orleans. They told us many stories of how when they grew up blacks and whites were completely segregated on buses, at schools, bathrooms, drinking fountains, etc.  It was cool to hear though, because while Brother Porter was attending/working at LSU he had the opportunity to tear down the segregation signs after the MLK jr. Speech and everything. That was really cool to hear. They are seriously the sweetest couple too and so grateful. That is what the gospel is all about. Inviting all to come unto Christ and find the joy and happiness that comes from it. 

We met with our investigator Liz again this week and she is really progressing. We taught more about faith, repentance, and the sacrament. She is doing awesome. The coolest thing was that she had to go out of town for the weekend for a wedding, but decided she was going to leave early to make it back for Church on Sunday :) And then the other amazing thing was an investigator named Allison came to church for her first time yesterday! She was the one that received her very first bible, had the worst nightmare of her life, and then the very next day we knocked on her door. Well, she finally mustered up the courage to make it out to sacrament meeting and loved it!! We had her sit by Liz and they talked about baptism and everything. Liz even invited Allison to attend her baptism on the 23rd!! How awesome is that? And then Sheryl is doing great! The sister missionaries sat by her and she is going to go out teaching with them on Tuesday. Just picture that! She is going to throw the hammer down and testify like crazy. That is going to be incredible. 

Funny story:
So there is a less active family in the ward that all live out in Prairieville right outside of Baton Rouge. There are 5 brothers and they literally live right next door to each other. All 5 of them haha. They are all totally balling since they have like a family construction company or something, but the funny part is that the first house we knocked on was the oldest brother, Walter. He answered and was like, "hey y'all look you caught us at a bad time we are watching the game, but my brother John is home so totally go talk with him." so we go next door and knock on John's door. He answers and says the quote of the day, "We're watching the game, but I know Walter's home right next door so go see him." Then he was like, "oh no worries, go see Harry right across the street. He may be home, and if not Bill is just right down there." HAHAHA it was seriously so funny. They were just sicking us on their other brothers LOL.

The miracle with John, Lyn, and Lily on Meredith street continues: We went over there on Friday night and had another amazing lesson with them. We shared John 10:15-16 about "other sheep I have that are not of this fold..." and then in 3rd Nephi 15 where Christ explains the meaning of it. John was wide eyed and loved it. Quote of the night: "I mean I know y'all aren't here to persuade us (after we told them our purpose), but I wouldn't be against being persuaded to convert if this was true." It was so awesome! They had tons of family over this Sunday, but hopefully we can invite them to come next week. 

Exchange: Elder Glover and I went on an exchange here in BR and had a great time. One experience I will share was teaching this family we met the Restoration. The guy, Russel, brought me back to New Orleans for sure. Meaning, he loved talking about Jesus and yelling amen/hallelujah but it was a bit more difficult to help him understand our message haha. Anyways, it went great and then after we left and were hitting a few other doors we hear Russel yell, "Wilson, Glover, can I share a song with y'all?" Now this is where it really took me back to NOLA. Before we knew it he was spitting rhymes and singing this song he wrote right out in the middle of the street. It wasn't uncomfortable at all and even a few cars driving passed us just made it even better haha :) It was pretty unique and yep, totally got the whole thing on film. Good times. And hopefully we made an impact. Definitely did on me.

I love my mission and I have really come to love the people of Louisiana. I mean it isn't hard to when everyone is just so open and friendly. Ain't nobody cares yer singing praises out der in da street I mean come on. I know that God lives and loves each and everyone of his children. I love y'all and hope you have a blessed week. Also, please keep those affected by hurricanes and floods in your prayers. Many people attended church from Florida this week as they were told to evacuate.

Elder Wilson

Wednesday, September 6, 2017



This week was fantastic! Even with all the stormy days and crazy weather, the clouds seemed to pour down some miracles as well! We still aren't sure what the clean up situation is with Houston, but please keep everyone in your prayers. Louisiana has had a lot of coordination with that and everything as well. Man y'all don't know how many people talked to us this week leading up to and after the game on Saturday night against the Cougars. Sorry to hear about that! It definitely gave us quite the opportunities to share the gospel though so that was sweet. Let's just say I may or may not have been wearing an LSU hat, and some BYU socks while tracting that night ;) It was either really good luck or just tender mercies. Hey whatever works right?? It was pretty awesome! Apparently the ward I served in in New Orleans had over 500 people at sacrament meeting on Sunday as well. BR had quite a few more people too.

I will just share a couple experiences from this week for the sake of time.
On Wednesday night the Morgan City elders all had to get evacuated because of flooding off the shore so they came up to BR. The 6 of us elders just triple worked this area and zerged an entire apartment complex haha. It was pretty cool! Oh and Pres. and Sister Varner got us Canes for dinner after so that made the night. I was able to go on an exchange with one of the new missionaries that got into the mission about a week and a half ago. It was pretty awesome! We found so many solid people and just were so excited about it. the miracle was that we had 20 minutes before a lesson with Allison (who is doing really great and progressing still just slowly) and we went 2 for 2 on the doors. They both invited us in and we had a short powerful lesson with them. Allison was planning to come to church this week too, but her alarm didn't go off apparently. The lesson went really well with her though, and she asked us a ton of questions about things that she has heard, that of course are never true so that was good to clear up! It was just a great night, because we were so excited at the doors that everyone was like, "man why in the world are these two just so excited to be knocking on my door?"They just couldn't not talk to us for a bit haha.

Elder Hoopes and I were planning our day and looking at where we could go to find. Well, all of a sudden he walks up to the map and just points at a spot that he felt good about. I walk over and see him pointing at Woodbine/Meredith street. You can just imagine me like, "Meredith is my sister's name."  so just picture this (us jumping up and down like let's gooo!! and just that excitement haha) We felt a little like buddy the elf and Michael jumping on all the beds in that store. It was pretty awesome! Anyways, so later in the day we made it up to Meredith street and literally the first door we knock on this lady named Lyn just opens the door and starts unlocking the screen door. We hadn't even introduced ourselves yet! She made it seem like she was going to go get her husband and said, "John is going to be interested in what you have to say about Jesus." Usually that is the beginning of a total bible bash experience where the preacher husband comes out with 3 massive bibles and starts firing like a duck shoot haha. But then John comes out and he is like the nicest guy and totally open to hear the message. He has been going to tons of different churches throughout his life and just totally seeking. Their granddaughter Lily who is a freshman in high school also came out and we taught the Restoration lesson. It was seriously sooo cool. John stopped half way through and looked over at Lily and said, "I would highly encourage that you consider what they are saying here." That family seems so prepared and we are going back there tonight with some members. It was also really cool, because John started sharing his own beliefs about Adam and Eve and it was like totally true doctrine and even went into the Symbolism and everything. It was astounding! MIRACLE!

Exchanges this week: I went with my old district leader from down in New Orleans, Elder Nguyen who is on his last transfer. Well, we were up here in Baton Rouge and the miracle of the exchange is that he is Vietnamese and grew up speaking the language with his parents. And I have probably talked with maybe a couple Vietnamese people on my mission, but while on exchanges we knocked into 4 houses where the people spoke only Vietnamese!! what?? And then we ran into another Vietnamese guy on the street the next day. It was pretty cool!

Well, that's it for this week. Things are well down here in Louisiana. Thank y'all for your prayers. Have a blessed week!

Elder Wilson

AUGUST 28, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was filled with miracles, it was incredible! 

We haven't heard much about Hurricane Harvey, but it has been raining like crazy the last few days over here so hopefully all will be well. It is a bit of a doooozie as Ned Ryerson would say.  Definitely keep everyone in the Houston area/surrounding areas in your prayers though.
After we got everything all figured out from transfers and got back to our area, we went to work! 

On Saturday we decided to go find a few more part member families to work with and knocked on this one door. The guy comes out smoking a cig and has a beer in the other hand and was just totally uninterested talking about how we can't trust anyone in this world haha. Anyways, so we wonder why we were sent to that person and so just decided to start tracting. The first door we hit, the lady opens and was like, "Elders!" We were like what? what are the odds? She then continues to tell us how busy she is and that she is having a huge party with family right now and everything. Well, knowing that she opened up the door yelling ,"elders" I wasn't stopping there haha. So I spotted something on the counter and was like, "Is that peach cobbler??"  and as soon as she turned around I just started walking in!! haha it was the best! I am almost positive she was just planning to bring us a plate outside or something, but we just went right in! Long story short, we go into the living room and there are several families in there and we ended up passing out like 15 pass along cards and started talking about the book of Mormon and everything. It was so cool! I felt like we were on a big wall preaching or something :D And it turns out that the lady that answered the door is being taught by missionaries in California right now. She had to leave at 1 a.m Sunday, but we have a follow up lesson with a few of them next week. FEAR NO MAN! and the peach cobbler was pretty great too haha.

Miracle: On Sunday afternoon we were out contacting and decided to find another part member family. Well, our GPS led us to this wrong address and we ended up at this apartment complex. Well, we decided to see why and found an awesome new investigator that goes to school at Southeastern University, but then continued on to the PM fam. That was a miracle in and of itself, but it get's better! So we find the right house and knock on the door. This lady named Robin answered and said, "oh, y'all must be here to see my parents." WE were like, "We are here to see everyone." (having no idea really why we felt impressed to go to this house) Well, come to find out Robin is a member, but actively attends a baptist church right now. Her parents, Bro and Sister Porter live there with her ever since the flood last year, and they have been members for 30 years and are now in their 80's. Apparently bro. Porter was a high priest group leader for 17 years in the wynborn chapel that got flooded out. The miracle of the story is that they haven't had the sacrament for 7 months and Robin the daughter wrote a letter 3 DAYS AGO to the bishop probably complaining that they haven't come to see the Porters/give them the sacrament. 3 DAYS AGO!! The quote from the RM was totally going through my head, "you didn't get the letter? (dear john letter) What letter?" We definitely hadn't heard of any letter and it probably never even made it to the church yet haha. We had no idea, but Heavenly Father definitely knew. We ended up calling the bishop and administering the sacrament right then and there. We had a lesson all together too and Robin's daughter came home from work just in the right time. We are going to go over next week too and start teaching as well! 

We have been working with our investigator Liz, who has been dating a RM guy down here for Summer sales named Bret. He served his mission in Hungary, and Elizabeth grew up Catholic her whole life but just didn't ever feel like it was her decision nor did she feel a part of it I guess. Anyways, she has come to church like 4 times already and when Bret was out of town for the weekend she came with us to church AND to Sheryl and Shane's baptism on Saturday. When we taught the first lesson with her and shared the short Restoration video with her she was in tears and wondered why she hadn't ever heard this before. It was soo cool! And she made some delicious lasagna too so that was definitely a plus :) They can sure cook down here in the south haha. So we had an incredible Book of Mormon lesson with her right next to the baptism font last week, and then met again at the Mission President's house for dinner and a lesson this week. She is so golden it is awesome. Bret helped so much and shared his testimony about how when he went on his mission h e felt like he didn't know anything, but knew it was the right thing to do and then the truth was all confirmed to him. It was a perfect segway into 2nd Nephi 31 and although it was one of the most nerve wracking baptismal invitations with her, her boyfriend, mission pres (president Varner), and Sister Varner all there just waiting for it, I went for it!! She has just been waiting for it haha. September 16th is the date and we are all so excited. 

A bit longer email this week, but it is seriously so amazing to have the opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and just be directed to where he needs me to be. I love y'all and thank you so much for supporting me. I am so grateful to be here.

Elder Wilson