Friday, April 21, 2017

APRIL 17, 2017

Happy Easter y'all!

Hope you got out those stretchy pants, just for fun!!
So last week was transfers and Elder Teare and I are staying here at LSU together for another! It will be awesome, because we have so much good work coming along. Since last week was spring break for the students here at LSU we weren't sure how we were going to stay busy, but somehow it seemed like a normal week with many miracles! We just decided to put our faith to the test and find more people to teach. We definitely had to knock on a lot more doors, but it was so cool to see the Lord prepare people for us to find.

A few highlights from the week:

On Saturday night we had the opportunity to attend the annual Catholic Easter Vigil Mass with Doug. Boy was that an experience! I have only gone to one other mass down in New Orleans, but it was just a normal one. This one was apparently the Phil Meador Toyota firework "biggest show" in Baton Rouge if you will! I guess there weren't any fireworks, but they did start lighting candles at the beginning :D. We went outside and used a bonfire to each light a candle and then walked inside. No joke,  the first 45 minutes of the service we were sitting in complete darkness with just a single candle for protection haha. It was a bit nerve wracking and kinda creepy to be honest, but bless our hearts regardless! Then this guy started singing a 20 minute solo like totally opera style with some spooky lighting. This lady then walked up to the front to get "baptized," but was in totally regular clothes so we were nervous. Anyways she didn't get dunked but the priest rubbed water on her forehead. hmm. Communion is always interesting with the whole one gold goblet filled wine that everyone drinks out of. Glad we don't do that, I felt bad for the last few people... rent a lip disease or something haha. Just kidding it was really a great eye opening experience. They have a lot of truth just missing a few things. It helped me realize how grateful I am to have the knowledge of the restored gospel. There are such wonderful people out there though that are just doing what they know to be best!

We always try and invite as many people to Institute on Tuesday nights as we can, but this Tuesday one of our Muslim investigators, Easa, showed up to Bible Study. He went to the entire class on the Apostasy and the blessings of living the commandments. He seemed to really enjoy the discussion. He wrote his name down for all of the future classes and even got a few of the members phone numbers for sports/activities. It was super cool. Then later in the week we met with him again at his place and taught him the P.O.S lesson using lots of Book of Mormon scriptures. Since it is such a wonderful time of year to talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ we focused on that aspect a lot. He was so open to the idea and the spirit was there. We talked about repentance and forgiveness of our sins and how baptism allows us the opportunity to fully do so from that point forward. He said if he comes to know that it is true he will get baptized so we set a goal for May 20th! We really tried to bear powerful testimonies to him about reading the B.O.M. It is so true!! You just have to read it and pray sincerely. His only concern is that if he gets baptized he can't be a Muslim ever again I guess. That seems pretty harsh, but we are just going to try and help him find the truth :) We then had him pick us up for church on Sunday. It was crazy, but awesome because we had another investigator George and his mom come to Easter Sunday as well! Elder Teare and I were scrambling trying to make sure everyone was enjoying it haha :)

So, another part of the Easter Sunday miracle was George and his Mom making it to church. They both stayed the entire time, all three meetings! The talks given were so inspired as well. Two recent converts in the ward spoke about Faith in Jesus Christ, and the Savior's visit to the Americas. Both perfect talks for the investigators :) George loved sacrament meeting! He told us that he felt the spirit!! It was sooo cool. He also met one of his old old friends, Noah, in the ward. We are going to find a time this week to meet with Noah! It will be great too, because Noah is a recent convert of almost a year. I feel like that entire family will get baptized! The mom, Caroline, just loves the missionaries and is so grateful for the service they render at the Old State Capitol for her. It was her first time attending a Mormon church as well! She just seems like she wants so badly for George to join the church so that she has the excuse to do so too!

One more miracle this week was when we met a girl named Courtlyn out tracting on Monday and shared the Easter video with her. We went back on Wednesday and she told us that she was praying for guidance from God on Monday morning and we knocked on her door in the afternoon!! She also told us that she hardly ever answers her door, but she felt like she needed to when we knocked. We were able to share our testimonies with her when we went back later in the week and are planning to meet again this week. That was such a wonderful experience for me. This week I couldn't help but wonder how in the world we were going to find those ready for the gospel let alone even anyone at all to teach, but as we put forth faith to find our Heavenly Father blessed us so much and allowed us the opportunity to answer someone's prayer. It is moments like those that make me so grateful to be a missionary. I love this gospel so much and it is humbling to be given the privilege to share it with others. What seemed like a hard week ahead quickly turned into one of the most fulfilling and wonderful weeks on my mission! 

Well, I love y'all hope you had a great Easter. It is always so great to remember the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Elder Wilson

APRIL 11, 2017

Whad da word!

Hey y'all this week was great here in Baton Rouge! This coming week is spring break for the LSU students, so we had to try and get with all of our progressing investigators and assure them of the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon over spring break :) This coming week is going to be interesting with so many people gone, but we are going to hit those apartments and try and find more people to teach that may have had to stay for work and such. I imagine it being a little like the Mardi Gras weekend where we hit an entire apartment complex like almost 100 doors and 2 people answered haha. I am just kidding, I know the Lord will prepare people for us to teach if we put our trust in him. He hasn't let us down yet, and I know this won't be any different :)

I just wanted to quickly mention the snow balls are back in business here in Baton Rouge! After a 2 week break in December haha. They are snow cones, but southern style. In other words as unhealthy/sugary as possible :) Bless their hearts quite literally! Almost as good as the Splash Pad. Don't worry though, I am staying low and frosty. 

One cool thing this week was that I was able to give a baptism interview to a mother and her daughter from the Gonzales area. Marcie, (the Mom)  has been seeking the truth for a long time and is so grateful she found it. Sadie the daughter (11)  has gone through a lot in her life with her father in prison and other things and just has such a sweet growing testimony. The gospel truly brings families together and blesses us more than we can even imagine. If I have learned one thing on my mission it is how important the family is in our Heavenly Father's plan. That is where Satan​​​​​​​​ is aiming these days. I love my family and am so grateful for all of them!

A few updates: We met with our awesome Nigerian investigator, Samuel, and taught him more about the Book of Mormon and read some with him. We also talked about the fruits of the spirit and how only good things come from God. He told us that he had been thinking about baptism ad that if the spirit prompts him to be baptized again that he would :) We are really trying to commit him to keep reading in the Book of Mormon and pray sincerely. Unfortunately he is just sooo busy all the time that it is so hard to meet with him often. He also slept in on Sunday and missed church... It is just so hard for him since he gets done working at 6 a.m and then church starts at 10:30. He has a ton of potential though and we are going to keep helping him progress!

Overall we have had a ton of success using the Prince of Peace Easter videos. We talk with everyone we can and just ask to share the quick 2 minute video with them and have them pull out their smart phone. One guy named Brandon (just a great guy :) ) invited us into his house for some water and asked us all about our belief in Jesus Christ. It was really cool, because we were able to teach him the Restoration lesson and as best as we could emphasize Christ being resurrected in every principle. He asked about the B.O.M and the bible and I helped compare the Bible/book of Mormon to his X-box 1 and Ps4 sitting on the entertainment center haha it was awesome. We then went back the next day and let him borrow a copy of the Book of Mormon! I am starting to really like that approach, because it gives them more of a desire to dive right in and read. The Miracle of the story was on our way out his roommate met us at the door and told us that he had gone to Institute before like a year ago! To make a long story short he knows some of the YSA members, and we are hoping they both come to institute this next week after spring break. 

One last miracle was tracting Thursday night and finding this small family: Husband, wife, and 2 year old boy. They were just living at an apartment complex with almost all LSU students tucked away. We shared the Easter video with them and since they are from New Orleans we showed the specific one about gratitude filmed in NOLA. (The guy in the video, John Lewis is a recent convert down in the New Orleans ward I served in. He is such a stud, totally watch that video!) We talked with Chester about having another testament of Jesus Christ. He was super excited about it and we went back Sunday night and shared the entire restoration with him, his wife Kyra, and little boy. It was super cool and Kyra seems soooo golden. She agreed to read the entire book :) It stinks though, because we may have to refer them over to the other missionaries since we are YSA... It's all good though, they are awesome!

I love y'all, have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, April 3, 2017

APRIL 3, 2017

Hey y'all

Temple in POCATELLO, ID that is just absolutely incredible! Enough said. It was a great week. 
Elder Wilson

Just kidding this week honestly was really great! Two of our investigators, Sufyan and Tarif, are from Palestine here at school for a few years and are coming right along. They are both muslim and love talking about prophets. What is really cool is that they practice what they preach about not drinking alcohol,eating pork, and other things. I think the word of wisdom lesson will go great :) We had an awesome restoration lesson with them and specifically asked them, "If they could ask a prophet one question what would it be?" They gave some good questions like why do bad things happen to good people? It was really cool, because we could then share scriptures from the Book of Mormon. 2nd Nephi 2:11 and then on to more uplifting scriptures, Mosiah 2:41. We then told them about General Conference and how we can write down our questions and God will answer our questions through prophets and apostles. They were super interested about that and it was soo cool, because Sunday morning they watched the entire session and told us how much they loved President Uchtdorf's talk. He gave an wonderful talk on The Great Awakening and Joseph Smith as well as the fruits of the spirit being love, joy, kindness, peace, and so many other wonderful feelings that allow us to know the goodness from darkness. That is so true. When we feel the spirit inside, we know that we are doing as our Heavenly Father would want us to do. I know that all things that are good come from God, because he loves us. President Uchtodorf came in clutch!

Another awesome experience this week was on Tuesday night we went with our ward mission leader Deric Masten to see these 4 guys that live in the same apartment here at LSU and went to High School with Deric. We went over to their apartment and one of the guy's Thomas had his Mom cook us delicious gumbo and jumbablya for dinner. We then had a really good lesson with them about the Book of Mormon. At first it was just Thomas and James that stayed for the lesson, but halfway through all four of them were sitting at the table invested in what we were sharing with them. We found out how much James had been reading up on the B.O.M and so I think he is super interested. I think what is going to be hard with them is just helping them give up some of those party school habits, but they can do it! It was great to have Deric there with us since he is still in Band with them and everything. He helped bear a powerful testimony and it is always nice when investigators can see what a normal member looks like :)

We had Mission Leadership Conference on Tuesday which is always great to hear from Pres. and Sister Hansen and then bring it back to all of the other missionaries in the zone. They started telling us a little about the new mission president coming here in July. He will be President Varner and sounds like a great guy. He played football for BYU and I think is in some sort of Real Estate business in SLC. That will be a crazy transition this summer, but it will be great! Pres. Hansen then showed us the new Easter videos, and I am super excited to start watching those with everyone! So then on Thursday, Elder Teare and I had the opportunity to share the instruction with the zone.
We did an exchange with New Iberia which is like 2 1/2 hours away so that was a fun drive! Elder Solomon and I had a great time though and found lots of new people to teach! We went to Free Speech Alley and it was his first time, so that was fun. Definitely one of the best parts about serving on LSU so it is fun to do exchanges on those days. 

Adventure of the week:
I had my first ever Crawfish boil this week!!! Surprisingly I never had any down in New Orleans while I was there. It just wasn't in season at the time. Apparently it is crawfish season now so tis the season! It is so crazy because you buy like bags of crawfish. The family that had us over bought almost 50 pounds of crawfish! You throw them in a big pot and boil them with tons of Louisiana spices and seasonings. It makes them all juicy and spicey and they even throw in corn and potatoes just for the fun of it haha. Luckily there was a big group of us otherwise I would have been in trouble haha. You grab the entire crawfish and then break the tail off and eat the small amount of meat inside the tail. You can also eat the claw meat which is pretty good. It is pretty tasty, but just the process of getting the meat is a bit nerve wracking honestly. The corn after it has been soaking in the spices juices becomes so spicey it is insane. My mouth was on fire almost quite literally for 6-8 hours afterward! Also your hands start burning at the touch as well haha. 

 I absolutely loved General Conference and the messages that were shared. I am pretty sure they were all directed right at me :) We are given opportunities to serve because it is what will help us keep our focus on the path back to our Heavenly Father. In order to be ALL IN we need to stand up on the inside. We cannot be afraid to unroll our spiritual sleeping bags as Gary B. Sabin shared. Even though it may be hard at times we can't allow ourselves to withhold our testimonies with others. Whether that be opening our mouths or the actions we make it is imperative that we share the light of the gospel. Sometimes I find myself afraid to bear my testimony with others, because I think they may throw it back in my face. However, I need to remember it is those times that require us to dig deeper than we ever have before that allow our testimonies to grow the most. I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves each of us. He sent his son Jesus Christ to make all the difference for us. May we all find our own personal testimonies of the Book of Mormon as our dear Prophet Thomas S. Monson has directed. The gospel is perfect, but the people that live it are not. It is up to us to find the truth.

I love y'all! Have a blessed week!
Elder Wilson

MARCH 27, 2017

This week was a great week here at LSU! Time flies when you are having fun. I would like to share a few cool experiences with y'all. 
We decided to go tracting up at a different apartment complex that we had never hit before, and ended up meeting this girl named Allison who actually works with a member of the ysa ward at a little flower shop. It was cool, because as soon as we made a connection with a "normal person going to LSU" she opened up a lot more and seemed quite a bit more interested. Not to say that missionaries aren't normal people, but sometimes you just have to get passed that white shirt and tie barrier :) They just have to realize you are "cool" and I mean let's be honest that is just too easy ;) Anyways, it is always interesting to see people's responses when you ask them about a modern prophet. 

Free speech alley story of the week: On Wednesday we went to FSA and had a blast talking to everyone we possibly could. It was hopping too! There were tons of other booths and people giving out samples and such. It was funny though, because we put up on our white board, "How has God blessed you today?" to try and get people to write up on the board. Now, other than the occassional chuckle with what I wrote being : Butter.. haha it was a challenge to get some people to write. So we decided to make a deal with the Food Bank booth right next to us and started handing out their flyers like they were hotcakes right off the griddle for them as they wrote up on our board :) Hey, whatever works right? We talked to some interseting pentacostal people later that day about speaking in tongues and what not too so that was fun. Another thing here in the south is that people can receive the Holy Ghost basically on command and it knocks them out. Kinda like Dragon Ball Z :) 
We then had Zone Conference on Thursday and got to hear some great instruction from President and Sister Hansen. It was funny because Pres Hansen gave another instruction on confronting adversity and anti-material/people. He asked if I would share my story about the Antioch group from Texas A&M confronting us as well haha. He is totally addicted to confrontational missionary work. He even called us the next day for FSA and asked if the Consuming Fire Fellowship were there and if so he wanted to come again. HAHA bless his heart! I told him he must have scared them off. Elder Teare and I then gave an instruction on having effective district meetings that hopefully helped.

We also had a great lesson with Samuel from Nigeria about the priesthood and Book of Mormon this week. Unfortunately it is giong to be hard for him to make it to Institute this semester, because of his work schedule but we are going to keep helping him. It is difficult because he is so busy all of the time, but we just need to help him realize how important it is that he gives time to the Lord, because that is when the blessings come. It was awesome too, because even though Samuel worked until 6 a.m Sunday morning he was still able to make it to Church at 10:30!! He seemed to enjoy sacrament meeting and also stayed for Gospel Principles. We had a great discussion on the Atonement and how incredible of a sacrifice Christ made for each of us. I am looking forward to continuing to teach Samuel and getting back with some of our progressing investigators this next week.

Last experience that was awesome: On Friday night, a guy we met on Free Speech Alley named George who is a bit autistic had his family invite us over for dinner. The Mom, works at the Old State Capitol building and a few other sets of missionaries volunteer with service there, so she loves the missionaries. She is Christian and the Dad is atheist. George is such a nice kid that now that he is going to LSU has realized he doesn't have too many friends... It was cool though, because his Mom told us that we made a huge difference just saying hi and reaching out to him on FSA. George is currently Hindu, but is very smart and open to learning about the Book of Mormon. Before dinner we had an awesome discussion about the B.O.M and he seemed excited to pray to know if it is true. He showed us some of his idols as well that were interesting. It's all good though, he is still learning! They fed us some delicious Louisiana Creole gumbo that was actually quite good. People here throw shrimp in almost everything so it is definitely starting to grow on me. They even showed us their tandom bike which we of course had to take for a spin! Proslyting with that puppy would be quite the sight. It is hard to explain how great of an experience it was and the happy feelings, but it was just so cool to help bring their family together in such a small way. We got George and the dad, Gregg, out of their shells. Apparently that was the first time Gregg had ever spoken to missionaries, and we even ate outside which was a first for him in years. We also talked with the older brother named Bentley who had a traumatic experience recently and has been sitting in his room by himself for weeks playing video games. We talked with him about some of the games he had been playing and Caroline (the Mom) said,"That was the first time she had seen him talking with someone and smiling." She was so happy! It truly was incredible. I felt like we really did something amazing for their family just being there. The spirit was strong and everyone seemed so happy. I love being a missionary just for those times where I feel like I touched someone's heart for the better just for accepting the call to be a missionary.
I love this gospel and know that it is true with all my heart. As we have general conference this weekend, what a great opportunity to receive answers to our questions or concerns from a living prophet and apostles. I know that if we sincerely ask in faith we will recieve personal answers from our Heavenly Father through his servents. Amos 3:7 
I love y'all so much and am so thankful for the examples that you are to me. Have an awesome week!
Elder Wilson