Tuesday, May 23, 2017

MAY 22, 2017

Hey y'all,

This week was a little more of a struggle since we are kinda in that transitional phase, the time after the spring semester and before the summer semester starts up in June. Regardless, it was a great week! We were able to stay busy and find some great people to teach. One nice thing is that though there are less people, (way less haha) those that we find mostly have time and are willing to listen :) We have also been able to get in contact with some of the other missionaries that we sent so many great referrals to. That has been really cool to hear the progress.

Update on our Muslim Brothers: Sufyan officially moved back to Lebanon in the middle east and is trying to find some lds church buildings over there. BYU Jerusalem is really close to where he is going to be at this summer, so he is in good hands. Tarif is in Washington D.C. for an internship, and we are getting him in contact with the missionaries there. It was so amazing to be able to teach them and get them started on this joyful path. They both should be back here in the fall too, so they will be good to go. Easa is still living here in Baton Rouge close to LSU campus, but just working at a local plant. He is slowly but surely coming along!

For our exchange this week I got to go over to Lafayette with Elder Flores. He came to LSU last time and we had a hilarious time. He is from Mexico and is a Spanish missionary trying to get better at his English as well. He is so funny! We tried finding some more Spanish families to teach so that was a lot of fun for me to tag along haha. It is interesting to run into those parts of town where there are just small pockets of Spanish people that all congregate.

A couple miracles this week:

We have been really trying to find more people to teach that are around this summer, so we went to an apartment complex that we haven't ever hit before. We ended up hitting a bunch of doors of people that moved out, and just as we were about to turn back we met a guy named Kinsley. We knocked on the door and he answered in his blanket and everything. Totally woke the guy up haha. We were like, "Hey man you gotta get up, it's 10:30 the birds are chirping and everything." haha just kidding we were nice and we found out that he had been recently trying to get back to believing in God and praying to him. As we shared the restoration of the gospel and testified of the Book of Mormon his eyes opened wide open and he threw the blanket off and turned on all the lights. It was awesome!! He felt something special and we asked him to give the closing prayer to ask if it was truer. Probably one of the most heartfelt prayer I have heard an investigator say on the first lesson! He is moving to Houston soon though, so we are going to get him started.

We have been in contact with this guy named Brennan who has been studying for the MCAT and had to take his last Thursday. It has been cool to be able to relate even just a little bit since Josh had his on Friday. We have been trying to help him start reading, but he has just been so "busy." It was awesome though, because we read some with him from the Book of Mormon in Alma 37 about prayer and then told him the story of how Sufyan read the B.O.M 5 minutes before his exams and totally aced them. He was like, "Are you serious Clark?" Hahaha we were like yeah man! When we left we looked back and saw him reading the B.o.M through the window :D That was pretty cool!

We met with George and Bentley several times this week and they are doing great. We had wonderful lessons with them and really tried focusing on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is so cool that as I have the opportunity to teach and bear testimony of his life and the things that he did for us I gain such a stronger feeling of gratitude. I know that He lives and loves us. It is only when we are willing to give up everything for Him that we find Him. He is there and is always reaching out to us, but it is up to us to extend our arm towards Him. George is struggling to give up his belief of polytheism and Bentley is struggling to give up his drug addictions. We all fall short and struggle, but when we choose to follow Him everything in our life changes. We have a mighty change of heart, and our will becomes swallowed up in the will of our Heavenly Father. They both were able to make it to church on Sunday, and seemed to really enjoy it. Every step in the right direction makes it easier to continue. George is a little nervous, but planning to be baptized this Saturday. Our Heavenly Father is working miracles in that family's life right now, and it is so humbling to think that I have had the opportunity to play a small part. Please keep them in your prayers. 

I love y'all so much and am so thankful for you. I hope you know that. I love you and pray for you always. However, there is no other place that I would rather be, than on the Lord's errand. 

Elder Wilson

Monday, May 15, 2017

MAY 15, 2017

Hey y'all, 

It was great talking with you yesterday for Mother's Day. Everyone looks like they are doing just Faaaaantastic!! Nate is still sprouting like a weed haha so that is good, and Mels is looking good with her contact lenses and braces :) I think Mother's day should be everyday of the year that is how special they are. Love you Mom!

Just a quick on this week, but it was a wonderful week! Our Muslim brothers are doing really great and coming right along. We are trying to help them as much as we can before they ship off to the Middle East. I just wanted to share one experience this week:

We were able to meet with George and Bentley this week and read in the Book of Mormon in Alma 7. As we read outside on their porch on the bayou, we could feel the spirit testify so strongly to their hearts. We read about Jesus Christ taking upon himself temptations of EVERY kind, pains, afflictions, in order to know how to succor his people according to our infirmities. It is amazing to see how we have only taught George a few things, but the spirit has taught him sooo much. He was able to answer so many of his older brother Bentley's questions. As we talked about the process of repentance and loosing those chains that hold us down. We all struggle with different things and that is the beautiful part about this life. It is up to us to find the light and the tool that allows us to break those bands. I bear testimony that I know that Jesus Christ is the way, the straight gate, the narrow path, and few there be that find Him. He reaches out to us everyday, but we must extend our arms just a bit to reach Him. He loves us and wants us to come unto Him. It was incredible to hear George extend the invitation for Bentley to be baptized with him. He said he would have to stop smoking first, but that is the great thing about repentance. It is a PROCESS. It starts with small change. I know that is true. Please keep them in your prayers, such a nice family.

Funny part of the story was when George was explaining to Bentley about how we believe in the Godhead being three separate beings, and how they were taught that they are the same. Bentley immediately said, "Yeah George, them being separate makes a whole lot more sense." haha it was awesome! It just all makes sense :)

Love y'all have a great week! Stay low and frosty. 

Elder Wilson

Monday, May 8, 2017

MAY 8, 2017

Hey y'all,

This week was chalk full of miracles! We were a bit nervous since this week was finals week here at LSU, but it ended up being one of the greatest weeks yet :) I feel like I say that every week, but think it is true haha. The mission just gets better and better! As you can imagine the beginning of the week was a bit of a struggle since everyone is cramming for tests, but we were still able to stay busy and help uplift people's spirits with short scripture verses. It was actually really cool sharing quick scriptures with people during passing to help calm those finals' nerves!

One miracle this week was with our investigator Sufyan and Tarif. Both are finishing up this year at LSU and Sufyan is moving back to the middle east for the summer and Tarif is moving to Washington D.C. for an internship. We were able to teach them a couple times this week even with finals which was great and they are still super excited about baptism. Tarif is leaving sooner than Sufyan though so we are getting him in touch with the Washington D.C. missionaries. Boy would I love that referral :) And Sufyan we are hoping to give him the chance to be baptized before he leaves. Pres. Hansen said the Jerusalem area is a great place for new converts so that should be great. Miracle: He was able to make it to church this week and seemed to really love it! We him and Tarif on Saturday with Vernon, one of the recent converts in the ward, and it was awesome hearing Vernon's conversion story since he was just baptized about a year ago. Also, Vernon and all the ward members reached out to him at church, and since Vernon is the same year in school he is going to keep in touch with Sufyan for the fall semester here at LSU. Anyways, the MIRACLE: Sufyan told us that he read the Book of Mormon for five minutes before two of his finals and said that those were the ones that he scored a 99% and 97% on!!!! The church is true y'all! Sometimes when we promise our investigators blessings for reading the B.O.M we are unsure of the outcome and may worry. But why?? It reminds me of when Peter was allowed to walk on water out toward Jesus. He had the faith, but once he feared he fell into the water. This strengthened my testimony in promised blessings. Our Heavenly Father loves all us and WILL bless us for following Him even in small ways.

Miracle: We got a call from the referral center telling us how we were slacking on the one referral that we apparently had. They were very nice about it though so no worries! We never have referrals here and we are specifically the missionaries for the YSA so we must have just overlooked this 55 year old lady that was wanting a Book of Mormon. We decided to go and find her immediately. We made it to her apartment and miraculously she was outside waiting for us. What? I know right! She had been thinking about it all day and was just outside. We taught a great restoration lesson and are excited to hand her off to the other missionaries here in BR. It is amazing how the Lord really guides us in this wonderful work. He prompted the referral center to give us a call :)
On Wednesday we had Mission Leadership Conference. It is always great hearing from Pres. and Sister Hansen and looking for ways to improve. It turned out great too, because it was flood/tornado warnings all day so we were safe and sound :) A lot of the insights were about having members be more involved like having them go and read the B.O.M with investigators. Members are sooo important!!!
Another Miracle this week was on Sunday: We had five investigators make it to church!! Needless to say it was too much for us to handle on our own. Luckily the ward members all came in clutch! We texted many of them before to give them a heads up, but a lot of them just jumped up and helped so much. George came and sat next to his old friend Noah and I sat with him and a guy named Nathaniel. Nathaniel we just recently started teaching and he told us that he knows the church is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but he just is too invested in his other church. All about that money.... He seemed to really enjoy the service though so who knows! Elder Teare sat with Sufyan and Vernon in the next row. Then since we have so many ADT summer sales guys here that are RM's from BYU-Idaho they totally helped us fellowship Easa and Joe at church. It was a miracle. Everyone seemed so included and loved.

We also had the awesome opportunity to help out a local BR ward do a day of service. We all met at a local school for autistic kids and helped make it look super good. We repainted all of the wooden posts and benches and just did tons of yard-work. I was able to get the trimmers out and everything. All those summers of yard work came in handy :) straight edge yard-work/post painting haha.

It was an amazing week! I wish I could share everything. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and he loves us. He wants each and everyone of us to know that he is there and cares about us. I am so grateful to be able to share this message. I am excited to skype on Sunday! I can't even believe the time.
Elder Wilson

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MAY 1, 2017

Hey Y'all, 

This week was a little tougher since it was the week before finals, but it was pretty great nonetheless! Although a lot of people were "busy" we worked hard and tried our best. Unfortunately a lot of our investigators are moving back home for the summer, but we have been getting in contact with other missionaries to refer them! Also, a couple of our good buddies in the ward that we have been going teaching with are leaving for their missions soon so that is pretty awesome! Kinda weird though, like a mission within a mission or something haha. I will include a few highlights for the week:

We have been teaching this investigator named Jenna who plays for the Quiditch team here at LSU, yes the Harry Potter sport haha. Apparently they run around with a broomstick between their legs and try and throw the various balls through the hoops. Anyways, funny story is that she came to the lesson with her wrist in a brace and Elder Teare asked if she got hit by a "bludger" like totally joking around since that is what happened to Harry Potter. But sure enough she was like "yeah actually" luckily they didn't do any weird spells on her so her bones are still intact :) haha so funny. She is moving back to Covington for the summer though and so we are going to get her in contact with the missionaries there! We taught her more about the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come from reading it. 

We had an amazing lesson with our investigators George and Bentley. We were able to bring one of their long lost friends from elementary school, Noah Shexnayder, and had an incredible lesson about Alma 32. It was super cool to see everyone participate and it was the first time Bentley had ever sat in with us for a lesson. Bentley was making all sorts of parallels with the natural man and how it is easier to take that route, but when we have faith it pushes us along the harder route which turns out to be way more rewarding in the end when you can pluck the fruit thereof. It was super neat, because Noah hadn't seen Bentley in over 10 years but now he knows of a friend in the ward :) They all went to the Spanish branch here in BR this week since George knows a little bit of Spanish and they do service for his Mom at the Old State Capitol. They are such a great family. 

We even took part in a firefighting miracle this week: We went and knocked on this door and it turned out to be a small family that was in the process of almost burning their house down. They opened the door and smoke just started billowing out like crazy. We ended up helping them get their small little girl out of the house and opened all of the windows. I truly felt like we were sent their for a reason even to just do a small act of service in helping them get out and opening the windows. It is amazing the miracles I am blessed to see on my mission. They were super nice and we had a cool discussion outside about their catholic beliefs. We found out they were cooking fried chicken and the oil started catching fire. It all turned out alright though, Fried Chicken Cajun style I guess haha ;)

I went on an exchange here at LSU on Friday with Elder Winn and had some great success. We were able to find a lot more people to teach here during the summer too. Amidst a few great lessons we were able to meet with Sufyan and Tarif, our Muslim investigators from the middle East. I think Palestine. We had an amazing B.O.M lesson with them using the pictures. We also shared Jesus Christ's visitation to the Americas. They loved it! The miraculous thing though was that they asked us how they can go to the temple. After they had listened to Elder Uchtdorf's talk during conference they have been looking at pictures about all of the temples around the world. They asked if they had to sign up online or something haha :) We told them all about baptism and joining the church later in 3rd Nephi 11. "I want to be baptized so I can go to the temple." the quote of the night. That was one of the most unreal moments I have ever had. The spirit was so strong as we bore testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. They have been reading the B.O.M together and seem to be loving it. They told us that they were going to read the B.O.M five minutes before all of their exams this week, because we promised it would help. Now although I don't remember saying that, the spirit must have whispered that to them and I have faith that it will help :) Unfortunately they are leaving for the summer back to the middle east in just a few weeks, so we are trying to figure out what to do as far as their baptisms.

I know that this gospel is true with all my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to gain a stronger testimony of it everyday as I share it. I love y'all so much and am so thankful for your love and support. 

Elder Wilson

APRIL 24, 2017

Ni Ha!! (Hello in Chinese sounded out in English :D)

This week was really great and we kept sharing the awesome Easter videos with everyone we could. Those videos really open the doors. I wish we could use those all year long. Free speech alley is starting to die down for the semester since everyone is in the process of last minute cramming for their finals in two weeks. Apparently this coming week is dead week here on campus, so we are really trying to buckle down before people start moving away for the summer!

As y'all can see with the Chinese header, we had to put our Chinese interpretation skills to the test this week. The other night we met a small family in one of the apartment's in our same complex outside "enjoying" the humidity. The grandma speaks literally 0 English, and the wife speaks a small amount. The husband is a grad student here at LSU and so luckily he speaks English pretty well! They have two little boys and became Christian about a year ago after moving here to Baton Rouge. Anyways they were so kind and invited us in to talk with them more about Jesus Christ. We ended up teaching them most of the Restoration lesson and the husband C-long was able to help translate. It was neat too, because they had this massive Bible that had the verses in English and the Chinese translation right next to them. So, We were able to use scriptures and pictures to better explain the lesson since even the wife Fungyan (there is no way I spelled that right haha) couldn't read English at all just speak a small amount. It was really cool and we were able to go back later in the week and bring them a Book of Mormon in Mandarin Chinese that we conveniently had in our apartment :) hmm. It was such a cool spiritual experience, because though I couldn't perfectly communicate with them the spirit was able to guide us to certain scriptures that I know touched their hearts. As they would read out loud in Chinese we would follow along in English and the spirit was still the same :) They are in the process of moving so we are going to refer them to other missionaries in BR.

One fun experience this week was as we were out tracting at an apartment complex we saw a bunch of guys playing B-ball at an outside court. It had been a bit of a long day, so we decided to take 30 minutes and befriend a few ball players. It turned out to be too much fun as a little pick-up game started up haha. Out in our white shirts, ties, dockers, and amidst the heat and humidity it was pretty intense :D If I may say so myself, I think we made a good impression that these white boys from out west can ball a little bit. It was so funny, because one of the guys was like, "man, those Mormons are ballers" haha. Anyhow one of the guys gave us a ride to our next place and we were able to talk with him quite a bit! The rest of the day we were soaking wet though you just don't ever get dry at that point hehe. ​​​​​​​​

On Saturday we were able to teach our good buddy George again! We went over to his house across the lake and we were able to talk with his brother Bentley more as well. George asked us about the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ and we were able to share with him the visitation of Christ to the people in the Americas in 3rd Nephi 11. What was really awesome was that later in the chapter it talks about how the people were baptized by the proper authority once they knew of Christ. It was amazing because George was able to answer his own questions and without us even saying much mentioned that he wants to continue thinking about being baptized by full immersion! That family is getting baptized I just know it! It might not be while I am here, but it will happen :) The whole family was planning to make it to church, but they texted us Sunday morning that they were having a rough morning... Well, even in remembering the story of Joseph Smith's first vision Satan will always make his attempt. They are planning for next week though!
And Easa has just been so busy lately, but we had such a great lesson with him about experimenting on the word and diving in! He said he would make it a priority to truly know if it is true!

Last funny story of the week: So last Sunday a massive group of like 30 RM's from BYU-Idaho down here for Summer Sales came to Church and literally doubled our YSA ward haha. This Sunday two of them Brady and John came out tracting with us :D Just picture this: Two RM sales man driving this white ghetto van that they drove across the country with over over 250,000 miles on it with two elders in the back and they are giving out restoration pamphlets to the "potential investigators" a.k.a good looking females in the other cars at the stop lights. Of course I couldn't tell since I am on my mission :) Hahaha you can imagine though... It was pretty funny! Anyways, we went on splits and talked to so many people! I went with Brady who served his mission in Mexico and we had a blast. We really had a ton of success sharing the peaceful message of the gospel with those preparing for coming tests. We were able to teach two people how to do personal prayers and prayed with them. Many of them as we asked them about prophets truly seemed to wonder if there was a prophet on the Earth today. So Josh if you go do summer sales this summer you better go out there with the missionaries on Sundays :) It was a great time! "Oh you aren't religious at all, well may we interest you in a security system ;) jk! 

Well, it was a great week. I love y'all and hope all is well! I know that the gospel is so true and sometimes wonder why people aren't so quick to jump on it. I have been blessed to realize that true happiness often requires us to sacrifice. As difficult as it can be to ask these college students to change, it is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I love being a missionary, and how great is my joy. 
Elder Wilson