Tuesday, February 21, 2017

FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Hey Y'all, 
What a crazy week! Elder Jensen had to stay in the Hospital until Saturday night, because his appendix ruptured Tuesday morning and caused a big ol' mess so that made it pretty interesting for me haha. I ended up sleeping on a Hospital bed sofa for 3 nights last week and endured the constant flipping on of the lights as the nurses came in and out throughout the nights haha. It's all good though I was just glad I wasn't in the hospital bed. I experienced several companionship studies with President Hansen as well, but luckily avoided all role plays :) It was pretty classic. President and Sister Hansen took really good care of Elder Jensen and I was kinda just there haha. I was able to get a ton of reading scriptures in though and also got to go with a few other sets of missionaries on exchanges as we took turns taking hospital stay shifts. That was good! On Saturday night we went to the mission home and I got to experience my first night at the mission home haha. I hadn't even seen it yet. We stayed there Sunday night as well. The Hansens were so nice though. We were kinda on our toes the whole time, but I think it turned it out alright. I only said one completely unrelated and outlandish comment though so I think it was a success. That fruit salad and the root canals man let me tell ya :)  Sister Hansen totally spoiled us with her delicious cooking too! I definitely reaped the benefits of that. Elder Jensen is still really sore and tires out easily, but we are going to try our best this week. Hopefully we get a car for a week bless his heart.

Although it was definitely a very chaotic week, I was grateful for the opportunity to go out with several different sets of missionaries and get some great missionary work in. On Thursday I was able to go in a trio with two Spanish missionaries Elder Ainge and Elder Johnson and had a blast Spanish tracting. Elder Ainge is Danny Ainge's son so we had some fun B-balling it up in the ghetto to loosen up before hitting some doors :) He is going to play basketball at Utah State next year too so that will be awesome. We talked to several people outside of their trailers and let me tell ya that one year of Spanish in High School really paid off with a few words here and there haha. They gave me a few lines to say and pointed at me during the lessons so I pitched in a little bit and that was awesome. I said something once and they laughed at me, but hey I said my couple lines! Although I couldn't understand much of what they were saying I could definitely feel the spirit when we testified of Jesus Christ. Yo se que el libro de Mormon es verdadero. Enough said!
Later that day I went on an exchange with Elder Dover from Guyana and we were able to follow up with some of me and Elder Jensen's investigators. He taught me a little Guyanese so that was fun! One of our investigators that we have been teaching has been super busy lately, but we committed her to read 1st Nephi 1 for this week. We are going to try inviting her and her roommates to Church this week! We also talked to an investigator that we hadn't been able to contact for a couple weeks named Heather. Her aunt is a member of the church down in Slidell so she has some serious potential! We then tracted an entire section of the apartment complex and were able to teach 2 new investigators and get a follow up appointment. That was awesome.

The miracle of the week I wanted to share was in a trio with Elder Fisher and Elder Starnes: We already had such a great day teaching some of their investigators and teaching two hardcore baptist women who's husbands were Ministers the restoration, but in the evening we were able to meet with one of our investigators at the Institute building. His name is Jackson and he is pretty atheist right now, but like 15 mintues before he asked if he could bring his girlfriend. We excitedly responded yes and we had a wonderful lesson with them. Savannah, Jackson's girlfriend, has a bunch of Mormon friends and has even gone to church 6 times already in the past few years. She seems like the key to getting them both to Church! We talked about faith and prayer and she told us that she grew up Pagan and converted to Southern Baptist at age 14, but has slowly drifted away. She wants to gain a stronger relationship with Christ if he is there she said. Sounds golden right?!? Well the only road block is her boyfriend Jackson and we committed him to pray last week, but still feels like he didn't get an answer. We shared Alma 32 about experimenting on the word and continuing to have a sincere desire. It was cool though, because Savannah said that she was going to have them read the Book of Mormon together! The miracle of the story though is that earlier Saturday morning as I prayed in the Hospital after what felt like an all over the place week I asked if I could just finish the week off with a testimony builder experience. We then started listening to a talk called, "Are Mormons Christian?" I can't remember who spoke, but he shared how we shouldn't just say yes but that we should take that chance to bear our testimony specifically on  the 1st Vision and share that story with whoever asks. Miraculously and as an answer to my prayer as we sat listening to some of Jackson and Savannah's questions, she asked me if Mormons considered themselves to be Christian.  I was a bit taken back by that question at first, because it didn't feel quite real. As I started to answer her question by sharing Joseph Smith's story of the first vision the spirit was so strong,  it was amazing.  Since we were in the Church as well, I looked around at all of the paintings on the walls and then asked Savannah to look around and see if she could further answer that question for herself. 5 out of the six painting were of Jesus Christ and one was of the First Presidency even our living prophet on the Earth today, Thomas S. Monson. I loved seeing and admiring the paintings of Jesus Christ that show our true faith. I hope that Savannah could see for herself the love we have to our Savior Jesus Christ. He means everything to me and this is his Church and his Gospel restored on the Earth today. I know that with all my heart. They have already been inside the church so we are hoping to get them to come on a Sunday!

Well, that's all folks! I love y'all, stay prayed up!
Elder Wilson

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FEBRUARY 14, 2017

Da Tigers! I first wanted to let you know that I didn't get blown away by the tornadoes or hurricanes last week so no worries there! We were on lock down for several hours, and thankfully no one was hurt. New Orleans East right by where I was just at got hit pretty hard though unfortunately. Keep everyone there in your prayers.

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I think I got y'all beat with my Valentine this year being the Savior ;) I am truly grateful that he has been here with me every step of the way. I know that He loved us so much that he was willing to be the perfect example and show us the way, the only way. I came across this quote this week and thought it pertained to this thought. "
Faith in our Heavenly Father and in His plan can be a source of inner strengthen through which we can find peace, comfort, and the courage to cope. As we put our faith and trust to work, hope is born. Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all that we do. It can give us comfort in the face of adversity, strength in times of trial, and peace when there is every reason for doubt and anguish."

This week was quite a crazy week in Baton Rouge! So much to say so little time as it always seems. On Sunday night my companion Elder Jensen started feeling really sick and then couldn't get out of bed all day on Monday. We weren't sure what was going on and he was in touch with a few of the mission doctors throughout the day. By Monday night the pain was intolerable and so we ended up getting a ride from the other missionaries near us to the emergency room. Well, after tons of tests it turned out that he had Appendicitis and was going to have to get his appendix removed. We had to stay overnight at the hospital for his surgery early this morning. It was crazy though, because they put him at the bottom of the list because of so many other patients I guess and almost didn't operate until the afternoon. Well, his appendix ruptured during the night and so it was a complete answer to prayer as the Nurse came in and said a spot had opened up at about 7:45 in the morning. Luckily his surgery went really well and he is resting up in the hospital for another day or 2. President and Sister Hansen came and it was a blessing to have them there to support him. Definitely a crazy night, but everything is good now! Please keep him in your prayers. The Baton Rouge south elders have a car and so we have been exchanging off so that one of us isn't stuck at the hospital as well. It will work out! Hopefully Elder Jensen can get back on his feet soon. In the mean time we are going to try and keep doing our best in sharing the gospel.

On Friday we had a zone conference and were able to watch the World-wide missionary broadcast. It was super great and I enjoyed listening to the members of the missionary executive committee. One thing that I especially liked was when Elder Bednar talked about how faith, repentance, and baptism are all interconnected and that we need to teach them all together and throughout the missionary lessons rather than just a checklist. I thought this was such a good insight, because I know that sometimes we can get caught up in just teaching the lessons one after another, but the important thing is to teach by the spirit and relate them all back to Jesus Christ.

It was super cool last week, because we were out contacting some of our potential investigators that we had talked to before and so we ended up stopping by a guy named Thomas' apartment. We knocked a couple times and were just about to leave when he opened the door and let us in. We talked with him for a good minute about our missions and why we are out here and everything and it was super cool. We found out about 15 minutes in that he went to high school with a Mormon named Derick. Well, it just so happens that Derick is our ward mission leader in the YSA ward!! That was awesome and what was also cool was that throughout the lesson/meeting one by one every single one of his roommates came and sat down and started talking to us. Apparently all of them went to High School together and were in Band together. We shared a little bit of the Restoration with them and are planning on going back on Thursday this week with Derick!

Miracle of the week:
After Church we decided to go tracting since all of our plans fell through,  and unfortunately didn't realize how hot it was until we were pretty far from our apartment. 80 degrees in February, who would have thought!?!? Not I Charlie Brown. Well, we hit door after door at this apartment complex and had little to no success for several hours. It was ludicrous, but worth it just wait :) After a couple hours we were both super tired and so thirsty. We were getting a bit discouraged and of course exhausted. Well, we said a prayer just to have one person open up and maybe even let us get some water. I know our Heavenly Father answers our prayers, because after 1 more door of no answer a nice lady answered her door. She told us, "I'm not religious and I don't want to talk about religion, but can I offer you something to drink?" We excitedly said yes and thanked her as she brought us 2 bottles of root-beer. It was such a miracle and an answer to our prayer. Root beer never tasted so good! She may not have been interested that day, but we will go back again and maybe she will open up :) I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants to bless us, but we first must ask. As D+C 9:7 says, " you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me." So true. I bear my testimony that he loves us and wants to bless us, but we first must endure and then ask.

I love y'all so much! I hope everyone has a great week full of loving one another!
Elder Wilson

Monday, February 6, 2017

FEBRUARY 6, 2017

Hey y'all, 

So I am officially here in Baton Rouge and loving it! My companion Elder Jensen is from Washington, Seattle area and is a great guy. He loves rugby and so I have been able to relate a bit with my scrum formation and hook and ladder knowledge haha. Thanks Jake! We were also able to meet some of our neighbors this week and came to find out that our next door neighbors are twin brothers named, DaMarcus and JaMarcus. You can imagine how hard that is going to be :) They are both really cool! Rumor has it the neighbors below us are Billy and Bobby and also twins haha just kidding. That would be classic though!

This week was truly wonderful! It couldn't have started off any better either with the visit from Elder Golden of the area Seventy. I was a bit jealous that the Mississippi Mission got to hear from Elder Holland last week, but what can you do haha. Regardless, Elder Golden gave some incredible advice to us missionaries and I was thrilled all week to try some of his inspired tactics. Many things that he shared touched my heart, but if there is one thing that really touched me it was the continual emphasis on humility. When he shared the story of how over the years he was beginning to think it was himself creating missionary success, but then all of a sudden could hardly speak. He shared that ever since then he strives to give the credit where it is deserved, to a loving Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. I know that this is true with all my heart. This is the Lord's work, and without him we would have no success in blessing the lives of others. There are also a few changes in the missionary schedule and what not, but mostly just narrowing our focus on the most important things.

One of our investigators is John and he is from the Philippines studying mathematics. He doesn't speak English super well, and so that has been pretty crazy teaching him. He is currently going to a baptist church, but isn't quite sure about it so we are hoping he is golden! This week we taught him in Alma 32 specifically on the part about the seed and having the faith to nourish it. He had a hard time grasping the experimental process, but we tried our best to bear testimony to him. It can also be a little tough to explain the priesthood authority, but we were sure to testify of the tangible evidence of the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon is true. I know it and could never deny it.

We were able to go on an exchange with the tiger bend elders, and Elder Gordon and I had some great success. I sometimes wonder why missionaries lack the faith to work their hardest, but time and time again I feel like the biggest reason is fear. Now I am most definitely not saying I lack fear, because that is definitely not true and I think we all have times that are tough in our lives that sometimes create fear. But what I do know is that WITH FAITH there is NO FEAR. So even though people might not have wanted to accept our message in the past, we put our faith forward and got out to find. It was so cool because when we started talking to everyone we could possibly see out and about we found this really nice lady out walking her two kids in a stroller. We shared a little bit of the restoration lesson with her and were able to lessen her worry of giving up coffee :) Now this lady might not have been completely ready to accept the gospel yet in her life, but I believe this was a blessing from on High because we were willing to exemplify our faith to find the elect.

I wanted to share one other miracle of the week: So here on LSU we go to what is called the Free Speech Alley on Wednesdays and Fridays to make more of a presence on campus and talk to as many people as possible. We set up a booth with tons of pass along cards and copies of the Book of Mormon and such and talk to everyone that walks passed. Well, on Friday we went and talked to so many great people and received tons of phone numbers and investigators to follow up with this next week.  Although we were doing our best to stop as many students as we could, we didn't really notice the opportunity to talk to all of the other people that set up booths as well. We talked to the ones next to us, but not too many other booths. So the part of the story that is the miracle was on Sunday night. Elder Jensen and I were out tracting at an apartment complex and quickly found out that it was Superbowl Sunday. Well, we were a bit unsure of what to do since we didn't think we would have too much success, and we didn't want to be those guys that interrupted all of the parties haha. Nonetheless, we decided to just keep going! No fear! We ended up knocking on quite a few doors that were "understandably" uninterested. However, we knocked on one door and a guy named Josh opened and told us how we looked so familiar. We quickly found out that he had seen us at the Free Speech Alley and was actually manning one of the other booths. Coincidentally one of the few we hadn't talked to. He told us how he wasn't interested in the Superbowl and would love to hear our message. We had an amazing restoration lesson with him and he told us to come back on Thursday! We were super excited about that and it was so miraculous to see the spirit lead us to him. Even though we at first feared getting yelled at for bugging people on Superbowl Sunday we kept going, faithful that we might find someone that was ready.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well! I love y'all!
Elder Wilson

JANUARY 30, 2017

Hey y'all, 

This week was pretty crazy with transfers and everything! I was officially in my new area starting last Wednesday afternoon. I will be serving as a Zone leader up here in Baton Rouge and covering the LSU campus!! It is going to be such a blast! My companion is Elder Jensen and he has been here for 3 transfers already and so he knows the area super well. He is a really good guy and we are going to do well together. Our ward is the one and only singles ward in the entire state of Louisiana believe it or not! It is actually really small as well, but still neat. We meet at the institute building on campus and it is pretty funny because the building is located on this street that has like 15 other churches literally all side by side from each other. Our building is the nicest one on the end :) Maybe one day we can get everyone to just make one big church haha ;) Everyone is super nice and actually our age, and so you can imagine it was extremely weird going to church there yesterday haha. I felt like I was back at USU at the singles ward for a minute except that there are probably 1/4 the amount of people and everyone looks like they want to hurt you haha jk just the first day. (Elf quote)
It was really great to get to know some of the people there and meet a lot of the RM students that can hopefully help us out a little bit. Oh also, since it is an institute building y'all know what that means.... yep a ping pong table!! YAYA it is going to be sweet so don't worry about me!

We immediately got to work once I got there and had some great success talking to people and tracting at the apartment complexes nearby. It turns out we are the only zl's without a car though haha of course, but it's all good since we mostly just walk everywhere we go. Actually let me clarify, my companion broke his bike, so we do walk everywhere haha bless his heart. It has been great regardless though! It has been a little difficult not knowing anyone in the area and just basically starting fresh in this area, but I know the Lord will help me as I put my trust in Him. 
The first day we taught this really cool guy named Nathan and he has been atheist his whole life. It was a bit of a shock since that is about as rare to find in New Orleans as an alligator in Pocatello haha jk, but probably just about! He had a lot of profound questions about the Book of Mormon and we had a really awesome restoration lesson with him. Again it was super different to teach someone that is actually my age haha. I feel like they should just be members! I loved the question that he asked about how we have come to know the B.O.M to be true in our lives and why we share that with others. What a great question! It reminded me of the privileged time that I have had to share my testimony with others so far.  I know that through faith we can come to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that wants the very best for all of his children. He gives us the scriptures and the B.O.M to bless us and direct us on the path back to Him. It is a challenging path and one that becomes impossible without his loving guidance. We bore powerful testimonies and emphasized reading to know for himself. 
It is such a blessing to be a missionary. As hard as it may be to do what feels like start over on my mission, I know this is where the Lord needs me right now. I will be forever grateful for the strength that he gives me each and everyday as I read his word in the scriptures. They seem to not only answer the deep questions that pertain to everyday life, but every question question that I hadn't even thought about. I hope and pray that I can be an example to the other missionaries and help them in someway. 
On Friday I got to go on an exchange in Plaquemine an area really close by with Elder Winn. He is a really great missionary and we had a lot of success finding new investigators in his area. We taught this really great Restoration lesson with two guys and invited them to play some B-ball with them in the hood one of these next p-days. They were totally sick and one of them had some sweet silver grills. I don't know how they live with that in their mouths, but I guess it is Louisiana :)
We have a general authority Elder Golden coming to our mission tomorrow as well and so that will be great! I am super excited about that since I haven't had one come to the mission yet! I am sure he will give us some great advice to improve our missionary efforts!
I forgot to put this in the email last week, but here is the classic New Orleans preaching style I hope y'all enjoy:
4 steps to preach a sermon:
1) Look like yo' nose is in da book all the way til you start talking.
2) Start low and slow
3) Come high
4) Catch on Fire!
I should have it down by the time I get back!

Well, I love y'all so much and am so thankful for your love and support. Thank you so much for the prayers in my behalf. I feel them strengthen me every single day. Hope everyone has a blessed week!
Elder Wilson