Tuesday, July 18, 2017

JULY 13, 2017

Hey y'all, 
This week was so great! It was pretty crazy with transfers and making all the arrangements and such, but we made it through. Elder Arellano and I are staying together as expected and we are excited to keep working hard! In case this letter is short, I will write more on Monday and include some photos as well.

We had the opportunity to pick up the 13 new missionaries from the airport. Man they are so awesome!! We had dinner with them and then had a really spiritual testimony meeting. It was a special experience for me to hear their testimonies and also share mine with them and some of the things that I have learned. This mission truly has changed my life. I love it so much. The whole time I was just thinking I want to go out with one of them and train haha. 

We then were able to spend a little time with the go-home missionaries. They have become such great friends of mine. I remember looking up to them so much and just being so inspired by them. My old companion Elder Jensen from back at LSU was leaving this transfer so that was sad seeing him go. Such a good man. I hope I can be a good example for the younger missionaries as these ones have been for me! It was pretty funny talking about some of the crazy stories and experiences we had back at LSU and especially downin NOLA. Elder Skillicorn and Barney were my zone leaders down in NOLA and we had some hilarious stories from serving in the same ward. The members of that ward are just so unique and so different. Here is one story y'all will probably get a kick out of:

So I never mentioned this, because I didn't want Mom to worry, but we were the first missionaries to start doing service at a prison, specifically the New Orleans prison. Now you know why I didn't want any worrying hahaha. Only in Louisiana would missionaries somehow get a chance to do service in a prison. As safe as that sounds ;)  There was a crazy member that got us into it haha. Anyways, we would go in with the inmates and help them check out books from the library cart every week. Yes, it was extremely nerve wracking at times. Also, there is no way I would have made been able to do it for 6 months without the help of a Heavenly Father. The security is crazy with so many doors and locks. I have no idea how I didn't ever feel claustrophobic, because there were times when no guards were present and we were stuck inside halls and corridors. MIRACLE for sure! But the inmates loved us since we would bring them books to read. "the church people are here with da books" Long story short, the funny part about the story was that the other elders went into the prison and one of the inmates was like, "hey, are y'all the mormons?" They were like yeah! He was like, "Well, I just saw one of your boys eat it on his bike off that Elysian fields  bridge last week." They busted up laughing, because my companion Elder Hicken had taken a huge spill on his bike the previous week and this inmate had seen the whole thing LOL!!! And not only did he see the crash, but he is now in prison the next week talking about it. What the?? Haha I guess you never know who could be watching!

An update with Sheryl our bible study/street preacher investigator:
She was feeling a bit down on herself last week and had injured her foot. She is a bit of a bigger lady, so it was making it very hard for her to get around. We were already planning to meet up with her for a lesson, so when we went over there we had a short lesson on priesthood and offered to give her a blessing. It was a really powerful experience and it was also cool, because she has been sharing the gospel with her friends and one of them, Taiwan, was able to watch us give her a blessing and be a part of that experience. It is soo cool seeing her already excited to share the restored gospel! She is going to be so awesome going out teaching with the sister missionaries when she gets baptized. The plan is for July 29th and she seems so excited about it! She made it to church this Sunday and stayed the whole three hours. It was great because a few of the ward members really reached out and stuck with her the whole time while we were running back and forth from the Spanish branch. 

The Spanish family we have been working with, the Romero's, came to church the previous Sunday and seemed so excited for their baptism, but unfortunately we got a text from them saying they want to go back to their old church... That was really disappointing, and we are going to go talk with them about it, because they know the church is true and especially the Book of Mormon. It is just hard when they come from these massive congregational churches and then we try and help fellowship them into the wards, but there just aren't as many members to fellowship and so that social experience isn't as prevalent. Anyways, we are going to keep trying!!

Well, I love y'all! Hope your week has been great! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out here on a mission. I love it!
Elder Wilson