Monday, December 22, 2014

How Heaven Must Feel 12/22/14

There are few moments in our lives where we get to feel pure joy. Yesterday I get a call from Brother Banner in Grand Rapids telling me that one of my investigators named Fred King is getting baptized on Saturday!

 If no one remembers my emails from that long ago, Fred is the most solid person I have ever taught. I wrote in my journal that he made my stay in Grand Rapids worth it. The love I have for this man is like no other. The last thing he ever told me as Elder Erekson and I carried the last of his coffee and supplies to our car was "You are like my brothers. I am not even this close with my own brothers. But you too are special. I can tell you anything." I never got to say goodbye to him. He was unable to make it to church that sunday and his phone wasn't working, so he never got my calls. I found out later that he called a few days after I left, and when he found out I was gone, he wept. I feared that I couldn't go because Houghton Lake is so far away, but I prayed, called President just in case, and he said I can go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The total joy that I felt was unlike anything I have ever felt. I just wanted to scream to the world what I was feeling, but I am not sure if they would understand... This man is family to me. I wish everyone reading this could know what I felt. This has been one of the tougher weeks of my mission, but all the pain and heart ache I have felt for the last 11 months has been swallowed up in what I felt last night. It has all been worth it, if nothing else, because of Fred King. Only Alma 26 can come close to what I feel. If I feel this joy over this moment, I can only imagine the joy I hope I will feel with him in the Celestial Kingdom. Only God can be the source of it. I cannot say the smartest part of what I feel. Elder Anderson in my district probably said it best, "Elder Wheat, I can feel your happiness from over here..." 

Thank you all for suffering through my joyous rampage, but there is nothing sweeter than being a missionary. A quick update on the work here:

It was a slow week, but the Cowart family that came to church last week is so solid. Now we have to arrange a wedding but They all want to get baptized! All the kids were sick, but Amber still felt like she needed to come to church. They are so unbelievably solid. 

We had a couple investigators drop us, but just about and hour ago we picked up a young dad named Quentin. He is crazy solid too. He is 23, loves sports, and is a family man. He is really impressed with what we do. We knocked his door a couple weeks ago, and he was very surprised we actually came back. That made him feel very special. He only wanted us back more because we talked football at the door with him for awhile. We had an awesome lesson with him and afterwards, we found out that a couple days before we came, he was driving home in the midst of a tragedy in his life. He prayed and told God he needed help and was ready to turn his life over to him, and then he sent us. It was really cool to watch him when he made the connection. He is so great :)

Even on bad weeks, the Lord still blesses in abundance. I was worried that my "greenie fire" was going out, but hearing about Fred turned up the heat again. Its going to be a great week... Just throwing that out there. It just hit me that I have been out 11 months... Time has flown and it is going faster every day. I am thankful for the time I have been given to serve my God and these people. 

The Happiest Missionary Alive, 
Elder Wheat


Merry Christmas from the Elders!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15/2014

So who wants to hear about the greatest week of my mission? 

Let me just get started. 

Last Sunday, we were checking on a referral (which I will get to later) that wasn't home. We had planned to knock that street as a back up, but without thinking, we drove away. We got about halfway home before I thought, "We need to go back." Right across the street from the referral we got let into a house with a woman named Sharon. We later found out that she had seen us walk by her house many times and always wondered why we never knocked on her door. She was just about to go into her back room and pray and cry when we knocked on her door. We got to teach her on Tuesday and had a great lesson, and she got really emotional when she prayed. 

Thursday, we taught the Plan of Salvation to an investigator named Maurice. We found out that he had 2 daughters pass away. We got to teach about the Eternal Families, and at the end of the lesson, he says, "I wish it wouldn't have taken me 70 years to learn all of this." It was a very sweet lesson!!

Later in the day we knocked on a potential named Amber Cowarts door, and were let right in. Her and her husband both adore God, but don't know a whole lot about him. We taught them the restoration and they LOVED it. Dwayne (the husband) said, "I used to say that it doesn't matter what church you go to as long as you believe, but now I realized that wasn't right." They have 3 awesome daughters, Destiny (17), Oriana (12) and Hope (9). The last two a major fire balls and are so much fun. They are so solid, probably one of the most prepared I have ever taught. 

That night, we went over to Steve Harmon's house to teach his new girlfriend who just moved in. She believes in God, but not organized religion, because there are so many divisions, which is wonderful because we teach why. We had a great lesson with her and she is very interested and excited. Steve even helped us teach about how we got the Book of Mormon.They both committed to be baptized when they get married! They also have the most adorable kids, Kelsey (12) and Xander (7).

Saturday we taught Ramon again. We had a great lesson on the Priesthood and Baptism, and he got rather emotional when we talked about redemption (which was unusual because he looks like a Russian Spy. Shout out to Elder Farmer!). It was a very cool lesson. 

Now back to the media referral. Her name is Donna Bryant. She was referred back in July, but the mission Secretary felt she should send it to us again. We actually contacted her at Taco Bell at all places where she works as a manager. She lived in Layton Utah for years, and was very involved with the church out there, though she never joined. She has lived here 6 years with her husband and knew something was missing in her live, and when she found out there was a church here, she found out what it was. She went on and on about how much she loved and wanted to be involved in the church. We taught the restoration and she immediately accepted the invitation to be baptized. She looked very familiar, but Elder Johnson and I concluded that we met in the preexistence. Oh man!

Now let me get into the fun part: Saturday was our branch christmas party. The branch was expecting a small game night, but investigators kept piling in all night. In all we had 41 in attendance and 17 were investigators... The branch could not have been more excited. We had a great night! Elder Johnson and I were running around like crazy to keep everyone happy and entertained. It felt like treats at the wheats. We had a ton of kids there (and only about 3 were members) and they all go to the same school. It seems all of our investigators have some connection to someone in the branch. It was a total miracle!

But it doesn't stop there. I guess the investigators liked the party, because Sunday at church, our branch went from 21 last week to 43 this week, and 11 were investigators. We literally ran out of room... I could not believe it. Sharon, the Cowarts, the Harmons, Will, Ramon, and Elizabeth all came. I got to teach Gospel Principles and we had a great discussion with everyone about how life is all about progression. I closed by saying "I am so thankful they Savior never stopped knocking on my door." After the prayer, Sharon looks up at me and goes, "and thank you for knocking on my door." Amber Cowart chimed in and said "yes! thank you so much!" It was such a sweet experience. They all loved it and want to come back. For the first time in at least a year, we had a primary, young mens, and young womens class in the branch. What miracles... 

If you have read this long, thank you, but I just can't describe in all these words the feelings that fill my heart. This area is almost literally on fire. I hope and pray with all my heart that these families will progress and eventually be sealed. Sister Herlin, the Branch Presidents wife is going to Call the mission president and ask if I can stay another transfer. I am praying for it as well. I am in love with Houghton Lake and filled with gratitude to be able to be apart of the marvelous work happening here. 

Elder Wheat


The Branch party!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Greatest Miracle of My Mission 12/08/14

When I received the call to come to Houghton Lake, I had no idea what to think. I had heard many stories about that place, and none of them good ones. I had heard it was a dead area, a place they send disobedient missionaries to be punished. Knocking all day long without getting anywhere. When I got here, we had 1 investigator we met with on a weekly basis and none of them were progressing. The zone leaders texted us all saying they wanted to set a goal that every area have three investigators agree to a baptismal date. At the time that seemed like such an unreachable goal for this place, but we worked at it. We fasted, we prayed, we worked. We did everything we could to get this area moving. The greatest miracle of my mission is to have seen first hand what the Lord is doing in Houghton Lake. 

We now have 11 investigators and 5 that have accepted a baptismal date. I am usually one for names, not numbers, but I don't have time or space to tell all the names and stories associated with them, but I want to talk about a couple of the miracles this week. 

On Wednesday, we had an appointment with a new guy named John. Just before his lesson, his wife's cousin Dallas walked in and sat down with us. Both are so solid. Dallas told us, "I am not to interested in a church, I am interested in the truth." It is a good thing we have it. We had an awesome restoration lesson with them and are very excited about the Book of Mormon. Dallas even warned John saying, "Your church is going to do everything they can to keep you from reading that book, but we will do this together." It was such a sweet experience. 

Thursday, we finally got to meet with Ramon, the man who has come to church 3 weeks in a row. So get this: We start teaching the Restoration, and half way through he stops us and says, "I appreciate this boys, but I already know all this. Joseph Smith, gold plates, all of it." "Do you believe he was a prophet? Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?" He answered yes to both. "Will you be baptized?" I asked. "When I know a little more yes." "What do you want to know?" "Everything." We started in on the plan of salvation and he already knew it... He told us he had been trying to tell his friends about levels of heaven for forever... We wound up teaching him all the lessons in 45 minutes... That has to be some kind of record. We even went over the baptismal interview questions with him... He has one or two hold ups, but I would say that this is a pretty darn good start... Not only this, he made us home made apple pie and beef stew. He wrote us a note yesterday and signed it "Future member, Ramon Cuzara." It was absolutely unreal. Craziest lesson of my mission by far. He came to church again, and even came to watch the Christmas Devotional last night. This guy is awesome...

We had a new move in named Will in the branch and he brought his 14 year old son Will with him. He is such a sweet kid. He loves football and wrestling and is built like a lineman. He asked us how he could get a quad and wanted to meet with us. We met with him Friday and had a great lesson! That kid is sharp as a tack. He is excited to learn more and agreed to be baptized!! 

Yesterday, a less active family came and brought a friend who was interested. We taught her the Restoration in the second hour and it went so great... She understood all of it, and absolutely loved church. She felt this "warm and comfortable" feeling the whole time and is really looking forward to having us teach her. My goodness!!!

We had an appointment fall through on Friday so we decided to head up north early. We were about 10 miles out of Houghton Lake when we get a call from our "Michigan mom" in the branch. I have never met a family quite like theirs. They are definitely one of my favorites. They go through a ton... She calls us and asks if we had left Houghton Lake yet, and we said yes. She said sobbing, "Ok nevermind." I had a very powerful impression to stop and turn around. We called her and said, "We will be there in ten minutes." She broke down and said, "THANK YOU!" We found out that her body, her marriage, and her life were falling apart. She was contemplating doing something very unwise at that moment. In desperation, she fell to her knees in prayer, and cried out for help. She immediately was prompted to call us. Thank goodness we turned around. We were able to just listen to her and calm her down. She came to church Sunday despite all the pain and brought her non member grandkids with her. Her 9 year old granddaughter shouted, "IVE NEVER BEEN TO A FUN CHURCH LIKE THIS BEFORE!" afterwards. It was the cutest thing!

Last night we get a call from Elizabeth. She calls us crying, telling us that after we taught her the law of chastity, she called her "significant other" and told him to pack up tomorrow and move out. He asked why, and she said,"Because its God's law." We were shocked. She said that neither of them could survive financially on their own. This is NOT what we expected or wanted to happen. The spirit was with us in that phone call. We were able to listen and work things out with her. "I have never seen so great faith, no not in Israel." Man is she the sweetest thing. We get to be financial advisers and relationship counselors this week as well as missionaries. I should start my resume now. May the Lord ever bless Elizabeth for everything that she is. She may understand as a child, but great shall be her reward.

It has been a very full week for us to say the least. My joy has been close to bursting at the undeserved and unearned miracles that are coming to this area. We, as well as every missionary who has ever served here, have spent days in prayer and fasting for this area, and our cries are being heard. I rejoice that the Lord in his mercy sees fit to work with us in this area. I feel so inadequate to recieve what the Lord is giving us, but I am grateful that he makes us strong, even in our weakness. He lives and he loves. I know he does, because of what I have seen him do in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and especially in Houghton Lake! 

With all the love that I possess, 
Elder Wheat


Ramon's teaching record

Selfie with the Tree the branch president got us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Visions 12/1/14

What a crazy week... It is a little ridiculous to stop and think about all that has happened. I can't write about it all, but there were some stories I wanted to share and things I wanted to update you on!

Elizabeth is doing well and had a great experience again at church. I am not sure she understands anything we teach, but she said something that I can't seem to get out of my mind. She said, "I don't think God cares if I get the right or wrong answers. I think he just wants me to try." The more I think about that, the more true it gets. I don't think the Lord does care if she knows everything about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. I think He just wants her to try! She feels the spirit and knows its true! She is such a sweetheart!

We have a new awesome investigator named Steve Harmon. He is 35 and We found him in our area book and stopped in a few weeks ago. He was really close to being baptized a few years ago but backed out because he wasn't ready to change. He wasn't interested at first, but we felt like we should just keep talking to him. The longer we talked, the more the spirit worked, and he eventually invited us back. We had an awesome lesson with him last week and he told his parents he was going to be a Mormon!!!!!!!!! He has a lot of hurdles to get over. His girlfriend is moving in this week which could be a blessing in disguise because he wants us to teach her and her family too!

This Sunday, we had 18 total people there, and 2 of them were investigators haha. We met a guy named Ramon 6 weeks ago who may be the best investigator we have never met with. Our first conversation went something like this:
Hi. What church are you from? Where at? What time are services? Ill be there. Do you have a Book of Mormon? Thank you. See ya Sunday.
I have never had a full conversation with the man and hes been to church 3 weeks in a row and is half way through the Book of Mormon already... He always leaves after Sacrament so we never are able to set up a time with him! and last week he wrote us a note that in essence said, "I love the Book of Mormon. It is a guide in my life. I don't feel comfortable participating in discussions because I know becoming a member requires giving financial support to the church and I am retired and cannot at this time. When I find work I will pursue my desire in becoming a member." We wrote him Saturday and said the only thing required to be a member is a desire to follow Christ and keep his commandments. He came yesterday and have and have an appointment Thursday! Fingers Crossed!

Thanksgiving was a blast. We made a bunch of cookies for the people we visit and got to volunteer busing tables at a thanksgiving dinner a local club was putting on. The people loved us and the owner of the club wanted to put us in the paper! It was a ton of fun and we got to talk to a TON of people in the city and earn trust with the community. Most of them now love the Mormon missionaries.

We had a lesson with Vanessa, a 21 year old less active, this week. She has been suffering with severe addictions since she was 12, and recently hit the lowest point she has ever been. She felt like their was no hope and no way out. She told us she had lost her faith. Her favorite Chapter is Alma 32, which talks about faith being like a seed that must be nourished. We talked about that and had a really powerful talk. I read her a part of Bri's email when she told me she was going to get baptized and she cried. They come from similar back grounds and had similar conversions, and that email gave her a lot of hope. Thank you Bri. 

Yesterday, we get a text from Vanessa:

"I had a very strange dream about you guys. I was in a new home and I was scared and Elder Wheat came to the door and handed me seed on a plate like the one you brought the cookies on. It was a tiny seed I could hardly squint and see it. He said, "Let it go to ruins, and you shall be hungry. Feed it over you, and you shall never starve." I looked at the seed, and when I saw, it got bigger. I woke up feeling the spirit and wasn't afraid anymore."

How crazy is that??? Man the Lord knows how to work with her! I hope and pray that this is a turning point in her life!

I felt like I was in a rut for a few weeks, but I have noticed that after every rut I endure on my mission is followed but a slew of miracles like we saw this week. Never did I ever dream 10 months ago, that I would be experiencing the things I do. I cannot write the smallest part of my feelings and experiences, but they will forever change me. I am forever grateful to be a missionary. 

Faithfully,

Elder Wheat

The snow

The District

The Zone Leaders

Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24/2014

What an awesome week... It definitely had its ups and downs, but I am thankful for both!!

This week was our half mission training, which was definitely needed. I felt very sorely chastened, which is a good thing. I always know I am feeling the spirit when I have a desire to repent. Repentance has also taken on a whole meaning for me. It is no longer perfection as I once thought, it is progression. It not simply ceasing to sin or be disobedient, but replacing those with worth while activities. It is not just going from bad to good, but good to great. We had a counselor in the mission presidency speak to us, and I speak for all the missionaries I have talked to since, when I say we had one of the most sacred experiences I have ever had. The setting is not right to share hear, but I am so grateful for what was felt in that room with my fellow servants of the savior.

I spent a couple days at Central Michigan University with the zone leaders. It was very hard to contact people, considering it was 15 degrees and snowing, but we had some powerful lessons. I would love to serve on a campus. It is a little intimidating to speak to kids my own age, but having spirit guided lessons with them is really cool. 

While I was gone, Elder Johnson tore it up again! He is really becoming a remarkable missionary. It is so amazing to see the spirit work on him. I am not sure he had a testimony when he got here, but the other day, he held up a Book of Mormon in front of his face and said, "This is true." He teaches like a boss now and was a savior for me this week. I was stressing big time over a lesson, because I didn't know EVERYTHING about the doctrine we were teaching, and he just told me to keep it simple. He was dead on. I am learning a lot from this man!

The other day, we talked to 15 people. 12 peaked their head out and said not interested, one cussed us out for ignoring a no soliciting sign, one antied us, and one opened the door with a horrified look on her face, paused long enough for us to say Hi, and slammed the door. It was a cold, dark, and slushy day. We walked all day and really the only thing that got me through it was singing missionary hymns. It was, for some reason, one of my hardest days on my mission, but all I could do was laugh. Days like that just make the mission memorable.

Elizabeth is doing really well. She may not understand everything we teach, but I know she feels the spirit. Last lesson she said she would be baptized if she knew 100% that it was true, but this lesson was different. We taught her the restoration again, and I am not sure the fully grasped it... But I felt prompted to ask if she knew the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Church were true, and she answered with an emphatic YES. She really wants to get baptized. We have some hurdles to get over first, but I am confident she will get there. 

I want to close with a letter she wrote to us:

Dear Missionaries,
I would like to thank you for coming to my house for the past few weeks and inviting me to church and study the word of God. 
I have learned so much more about God. This means so much to me. I once was not up to par, then one day I found myself knowing more and more than I did before. I just wanted to get to know God more. 
God loves all who love and spread his word. This is my testimony. 
Elizabeth Porter

I add my testimony to hers. I love being a missionary, and I know that God lives! I am grateful that he is so merciful and patient with me. I am grateful for how much I have learned and how much I have changed. Love you all!

Elder Wheat

Elder Johnson and I and The frozen lake!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11/17/14

What a crazy week... This P-Day was definitely needed. If there is anything I have learned this week, it's that if we look for the negative, we will find it, but if we look for the positive, we find that too. It seemed like a rough week until I considered the blessings the Lord had given me. 

I was on trade offs in Oscoda for a couple days, but Elder Johnson was a champ while I was gone. He put 2 more people on date to be baptized, Elizabeth Porter, and John Hoot. He is such a champ. He grows in his desire to share the gospel with every passing day, and it is very cool to see. Elizabeth came to church this week. It took a lot to get there, including spilling bean soup all over my tie and suit, giving a blessing to my "Missionary Mom" who made the soup, picking up Elizabeth, but we got there. She is so great. She went to the library the day before to make herself a study guide based on the pamphlets we give her, and a special sheet to take notes with. She loved it so much!! Man she is gold. Church was amazing. The spirit was felt and I left with a resolve to be better.

On trade offs we saw a family I saw last transfer, and I promised them that I would draw them a Lions logo for them. They are the sweetest family and I love them to death. I almost feel like they are my investigators. I am thankful I got to meet them!

We are fasting from our cars on Saturdays, and so we got to walk all day, but I honestly really enjoyed it. We got to walk in the snow on a Michigan back road for awhile, and it was gorgeous. I honestly didn't feel the cold at all. I feel like the Lord kept us warm. Earlier in the day we had a lesson with a new investigator named Nina, and older woman in the area. She is so sweet. She used to go to church all the time, but fell out of the habit. She goes through a ton, and has had all kinds of medical issues, but is able to take care of a home bound friend who lives in their home. We taught her the Restoration, and it went really well. She was so excited to get her Book of Mormon and when we asked how she felt about all this, she said, "Good. Really Good. Actually, I feel great. I feel like for the first time in forever, things are going to get better. I feel like I just want to go and do something. I feel like God is happy that I am doing this." It was so sweet to hear the testimony of a woman who was feeling the spirit for perhaps the first time. 

For my entire stay in Grand Rapids, I prayed that I could see the spirit work on people like I am seeing it here. The pattern of revelation found in Alma 32 is most definitely true. If one has a desire to believe, the spirit will work on them, and they and the missionary will rejoice together. The spirit is doing the things that I cannot, which is a whole lot. He is there when we teach these people. The things the Lord is doing for this area is beyond me. I would say that I could have never imagined what the Lord is doing for us, but honestly, I felt like I always knew he would.  When I got here, there was no one to teach consistently, but my companion and I knew that if we had faith and worked. The Lord would make things happen. We fasted and prayed that we could find 3 people that would accept an invitation to be baptized on a specific date. It was something that seemed lofty at the time, and it happened!!! This work isn't about numbers, but I am thankful to have met John Hoot, Maurice Clark, and Elizabeth Porter, and see how the Spirit of the Lord is tugging at their hearts. There is much to be done, but it pleases us to work. I pray this will be a week of growth, learning, and miracles. I am thankful to be doing what I am doing, and all the Lord is doing for me. Love you all!

His faithful servant,

Elder Wheat
A picture I drew for a family in Oscoda. They are so excited they wanted to frame it haha

 The family. THEY GAVE ME A TIE!!! 

Its begun... Good bye grass, see you in May haha (20 degrees today btw)

Friday, November 14, 2014

11/10/14

What a week my friends!!

Where to start... 

I want to take a second to say how much I love the missionaries of this mission, and the opportunity I have to help support and serve them as a district leader. Every time we gather together, I feel the spirit and I feel strength in the power of the set apart. 

We saw many miracles this week. We went to teach a man named Maurice Clark, who has a cool story. We found him while checking on somebody else, but we got talking to him, and found out his religious history. He grew up in church, but stopped as a kid because he was told to not come back until he had nicer clothes. That reminded me of Alma 32 where the poor class of the zoramites was kicked out of their synagogues because of there poor dress. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and invited him to read that story. He read it many times and found great comfort in it, but at the end of our first visit, he said he'd die a baptist. The mood changed a little when we went back and explained the restoration, but the miracle was this week. He mentioned to us that he wasn't sure why, but his life was changing. He no longer judged others and just started to love people more. He described that the changes began before we started meeting, but have accelerated since. He feels the spirit when we come and when he reads, but is anxious to find out what is causing these changes. The Lord prepares his children for the missionaries. I believe it with all my heart. 

We didn't have much planned on Friday, and Elder Johnson admitted later that he thought it was going to be a horrible day. Oh how wrong we were. We saw miracles all day. Were were led to exactly the right places and met all the right people. We taught them on the doorstep, they felt the spirit, and invited us back. We have more appointments set up this week than I have ever had in Houghton Lake. We are being so blessed. There are so many elect people here. The trick now is going to be getting them to meet consistently and get them to progress. We will see what the Lord has in store!

We also saw miracles with a couple less actives, including Sister Cowell, who continues to make huge steps in here testimony. We taught them they why of the Sacrament, and the spirit touched them big time. I am really excited to follow up this week with how they are doing. 

Life is good. We got caught walking in a sleet storm the other day and just about froze but we smiled, sang, and power walked the whole two miles home. I am thankful that the Lord keeps me cheerful, no matter how lousy the weather or experience!  Sorry for the lack of stories this week, but I don't have time or words to share them all. Its crazy how the small and simple experiences make the biggest difference to me. I love this work!

His Faithful Servant
Elder Wheat

A couple of missionaries in the zone and President Jacobsen!!

How it feels to be a missionary!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/03/14

I can't believe how fast the days are flying. It really isn't fair! 

Elder Johnson is doing very well. The man is picking up things very quickly. He took the lead in all of our Restoration lessons and handled it like a stud! He is improving by the day. I think he might get sick of me soon because I am so happy all the time, but he will get used to it haha. I am thankful my mission is teaching me to love things that are hard. On Friday and Saturday, it got down to about 34 degrees and snowed. The wind chill however was about 15. It was epic. I am telling ya, that wind cuts you to the bone haha. Its weird though, because I really did love it. There really is not that much fun about Door knocking in the freezing wind and snow, but I just had this smile on my face the entire time. Life is so much better when you choose to be happy.

Now for a couple miracles that happened this week. Last week, I told a story of how Elder Johnson was prompted to go back and knock on a door again. Well, Elizabeth is a rock star. She is so excited to have us teach her. She is such a big sweet heart. Everything we taught reminded her of a scripture in the bible, so we'd stop while she flipped through and read the scripture she was thinking of. I couldn't help but smile. It's like teaching a child. She is so accepting and excited to hear what we have to say. I can't help but love her heart. She is different from everyone else we have met, but we love her anyway. We gave her a book of mormon and a couple pamphlets, and she read them all and took all kinds of notes. She loves what we have to say and rejoices to receive more of God's word.

Greatest Miracle was the baptism of Nora Buchner. She has been coming to church everyweek for 10 years and finally built the courage to be baptized. We normally get about 22-23 members at sacrament meeting and had 28 come to the baptism. I got to be in the water with the baptizer to help her back up out of the water. What a great experience. Afterwards, she said, I feel so much more love here than I do at my other church. It is weird how it really doesn't matter if the congregation has 20 members or 200 members, there is a tangible family love in this church that I have not felt anywhere else. If nothing else, I know that this church is true because of the love that is present every time the saints assemble together. I know that all of us belong the the family of God, and what a sweet feeling it is to feel that bond. 

Love seems to be the common theme for the week. It is the secret to happiness. If we can choose to love everyone around us and the circumstances we find ourselves in, the world would be void of all its troubles and contentions. Yesterday, we met a drunk man who was waiting for a cab outside his trailer. He says "Have you come to talk to me about Jesus Christ?" I said, "Yes sir!" He said "Well your looking at him! I am Jesus Christ." He then proceeded to tell us a whole bunch of crazy things about Daniel, King James, and the second coming, during which, I swear he didn't blink once. When his cab came, he put out his cigarrette and drove off. It was such an unusual experience, but I couldn't help but love him! It doesn't matter whether or not this man was the Savior or not, we tried to treat him as if he was. That man is my brother. I am thankful that God is changing how I view people. He is helping me see the good in everyone, and helping me realize that everyone is doing the best that they can. I have no choice but to love them. The Lord loves me with all my weaknesses and imperfections, so I must love others who have theirs. Life is so much better and happier this way. How thankful I am to God that he is changing who I am. I love him, which must always include loving everyone around us. For by this shall all men know that we are his disciples, If we have love one to another.

Elder Wheat

Nora Buchners baptism

One of the Young men drew a sweet picture of me and him hhaha

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I have a fine new son! 10/27/14

This week has been one of the funnest weeks of my whole mission!! 

I got to spend Monday-Wednesday with these super awesome missionaries named Elder Hess and Elder Wheelwright. Elder Hess is probably now my favorite missionary in the mission. We are so much alike its ridiculous. We didn't have a car while I was there, so we walked and knock for two days straight, from 11 am to 6 pm. My legs felt like Jello afterward, but we seriously had 2 of the funnest days of my mission! 

But without further adieu, my new companions name is Elder Cade Johnson! He is such a champ!! He is from Saratoga Springs Utah, loves sports, and came ready to work. He looks a lot like Kevin Francom. Its weird haha He is an answer to prayers. He felt a lot like I did when I got into the mission. He was absolutely terrified. He hasn't had any experience teaching and very little experience studying the gospel, but he is picking it up fast. It touches my heart every night to see him studying his scriptures in his free time. And he was in the Isaiah chapters, so even more bonus points to him haha. We are working on just having bear his testimony to everyone we talk to get him in the swing of things, and he is just a stud!!

We only had about 2 and 1/3 days of missionary work in Houghton Lake, so the moment he got home we went straight to work. I took him door knocking right away and we found some really solid people. Miracles are happening in this area like you wouldn't believe. They say its one of the toughest areas in the mission, but we are having people come out of the wood work from all avenues of finding. We already have 6 appointments this week, which feels like more than we had all last transfer... 

It is so much fun to watch him feel the spirit. We got to give his first blessing, and he goes, "Man... That was cool!" I was telling him some of my mission stories and experiences when I was led by the spirit and he goes, "Can I ask a personal question? What does the spirit feel like to you?" I explained the best I could, but the best I could say was, "You will know it when you feel it." 

Yesterday we checked on a potential named Elizabeth, and she didn't answer so we knocked the rest of the street. Upon walking back he goes, "Lets go knock again." This time, Elizabeth answered, and we found out that she really needed us. Her boyfriend is in the hospital and she needs to fix her yard before the city gets involved, so we offered to help and are going back to serve and teach her tomorrow! IT WAS SO COOL! I asked Elder Johnson later that night, "So what did it feel like? Feels like a regular thought doesn't it?" and he says, "Yea, but it feels different..." I was so happy for him!! There is nothing like watching your boy have experiences like that! 

Later on that street, we found an awesome guy named Travis, who wasn't interested at first, but as we taught him about who God is and the purpos of life, he felt the spirit and opened up. He is busy the next three weeks, but is super excited to have us back in 3 weeks to teach his wife and 3 kids. I have come to the conclusion that finding becomes fun when you make it an extension of teaching. When you teach these people restored truths right up front, it allows them to feel the spirit right up front, and almost always results in return appointments no matter who it is. I am so thankful to have the Holy Ghost on our side teaching and touching peoples hearts for me. I know that this work cannot be done without it!

Life is good as always. This is the happiest and most confident I have been in my life. I know that God lives and loves us. The words of a favorite song often describe my feelings, "My God has bled, my soul to save. How can I keep from singing?" 

Faithfully, 
Elder Wheat 
His first picture of the Lake

Me and Elder Johnson

 Hipster Missionaries

Elder Hess and Wheelwright

Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/14

I apologize for not being able to write last week. We ran out of time and the Library closed so now I get to report on two weeks worth of work!
 
Elder Campbell is leaving me, and I will be training again!!! I am so excited!! I hope my son is ready to work!! The weather is getting cold... It hit 30s yesterday and man does that wind cut to the bone. They say this winter will be as bad as last year... Which means door knocking in -40... Bring it on. At least I am not cold AND getting kidnapped in Russia. Ain't that right Elder Skyler Farmer? ;) But for about the last two weeks it has been a whole lot of knocking, and a whole lot of uninterested people, but that is how it goes sometimes. We had to drop most of our investigators and haven't been able to find Megan since our last meeting :( But, I have learned that the Lord asks you to work as hard as you can and he provides a miracle in a avenue well that has nothing to do with what you were doing. I would like to share a couple experiences from this last week. 

On Tuesday we met with a less active member named Sister Cowell. It was the first time I had met with her, but I have learned what happens when you abandon the gospel. You lose your testimony. She basically denounced her belief in the Church, and when we asked what she thought about Joseph Smith, she responded, "I don't." She said that missionary after missionary have told her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she has and it never worked. "I give up" she said. It was rather discouraging. We invited her to read Alma 32, which outlines the process of receiving spiritual knowledge and left. I left there wondering what happened to her, and praying to know how to help. She called us Friday and told us to come back. We were very nervous about it, and pleaded with the Lord that he would give us the words to say to her. We went in and talked about what she had read. She asked us why we need the Book of Mormon, claiming that the bible was sufficient. We described it in effect as follows:
      
Before the Bible was the Bible, it floated around as singular books, such as the Gospel of Matthew or John. Each of these as individuals is wonderful. They teach you about Christ and teach you to look to him that we might be saved. Why then would we need the gospel of John or Mark, if we have Matthew? Because those books give us insight into the Savior and his gospel with scriptures and stories not included in the other Gospels or Books. All 4 work as a puzzle, filling gaps that the other gospels do not include. All 4 are profitably studied together and help us know who Christ is, what he did, and why it matters. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants work in a similar way. They provided insights about Christ and His gospel not included in the Bible. I cannot think of anywhere in the bible that explains the process of receiving revelation as clearly as it is explained in Alma 32. I cannot think of a greater chapter on the how and why of the Fall and Atonement than 2 Nephi 2. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants fill in gaps and confirm truths taught in other scriptures. We do not freak out when the New Testament is brought forth with the Old Testament, nor do we reject the Gospel of Mark when it is introduced to the gospel of Matthew. Rather, we rejoice at the further light and truth we receive. Why then, do we condemn new scripture and reject further light and truth from heaven, or at the very least experiment on the word? God continues to reveal more truth to us in these our times. Why are we then content to have less? 

We should examples from our studies of how we use all of the scriptures together. She was very taken back, and began to understand. We bore our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and of the spirit that is felt therein. She was feeling it too. She mentioned that she feels the spirit when she reads it to and called it a "good seed." We were watching her gain a testimony before our eyes. It was remarkable. The spirit was so strong. Thank goodness the Lord is with our mouths when we share his gospel.

2nd miracle of the week is an investigator named Nora Buchner. She is 80 years old and has been investigating for ten years and has come to church every week for that time. She hasn't been baptized because she is deathly afraid of water. I have fasted and prayed for her, and yesterday it was announced that she is getting baptized November 1st!! It was so sweet to see her smile when it was announced. I feel that every baptism I have been apart of to date has had nothing to do with me, and that is honestly ok with me. It is how it ought to be. I feel like the Lord works all the miracles and I am just along for the ride. 

It is a wonderful work :) What can I say more? The work is hard and exhausting but that's what makes it great! I am having the time of my life! The work is true. I love you all and pray for you!

His Faithful Servant,
Elder Wheat

2/3 of the original district back together and Mission Leadership Conference

For the Beauty of the Earth

"Chad" selfies and our new Superhero shirts a member got us

The District

10/6/14

I know that God has called a prophet on the earth again today, and that the Church of Jesus Christ has again been established on apostles and prophets. Now that that has been said, I will undertake to write some of the tender mercies of the week.

Trade offs in West Branch was incredible. I was working with Elder Newman, who is just a transfer younger than me. He is a remarkable missionary. Extremely diligent and obedient. We saw miracles. West Branch is usually a slow moving area, but we could hardly stop to rest! We met with a young woman named Amber and taught her about the Restoration. She didn't have a ton of scriptural knowledge, but Elder Newman had an awesome visual for teaching prophets that helped her understand perfectly the need for one today. The whole lesson was stellar, until the part where we taught her how she could know. At that point it became miraculous! We read Moroni 10:3-5 and testified that she could know by the power of the Holy Ghost that things were true and she goes, "I felt it as I was reading that. I am excited to read this." We were just like AHHHHHHHHHH!!! Man it was great. It was an awesome day. 

Later in the week, we had trade-offs with the Zone Leaders, and I was with Elder Stevenson. He plays volleyball, from Hemit, CA and is basically another version of me. We had SOOOOOO much fun. But I do want to share one experience from our time together. It was pouring rain Friday morning, but we decided to walk to Megan Maupin's house, a potential we found this last sunday. She wasn't home but a few hours later, I felt that we needed to go back and knock again. This time, she was home and let us right in. She has a 3 year old son named Tyler who is seriously the most adorable thing. He would run in throughout the lesson with a toy in hand and shout, "Watch this!!" and he would chuck it across the room. He wouldn't stop, though his mother tried haha Elder Stevenson came up with a system that one of us would teach while one of us would play with him. It was wonderful!

She explained to us why she had stopped attending churches. She initially invited us back because she wanted Tyler to grow up in a church, but after some thinking she felt that it was time for her to come back. As we explained the restoration of the Gospel, she had this look of excitement on her face I don't think I can ever forget. We asked what it would mean to her if Christ's church was restored again to the earth, and she said, "Then I would have somewhere to go!" She immediately accepted the invitation to be baptized and ran to her calender and circled November 8th. It was a wonderful experience. It has been almost 2 years since this area has had someone on date, and Elder Campbell and I are fortunate enough to see it happen! The Lord is good! When we got up to leave and and we said bye to Tyler and he goes "Bye bye?" and we go "yea we have to leave!" He says, "I go bye bye with you?" Our hearts melted but we had to say no. She couldn't stop thanking us for coming. It was one of those missionary moments that you treasure. I pray that this will work out for her. I know how much this gospel will bless her life.

How lucky I feel to be here in Michigan. It gets colder, wetter, and darker by the day, but there is sunshine in my soul (Excuse the cheesy Hymn reference). I know that the work I am engaged in is not my own, it is the Lords. I am thankful to be along for the ride! 

His faithful servant,
Elder Wheat


Welcome to the Mission Field!

The person we went to see wasn't feeling well, and as we walked back to the car and saw their yard COVERED in leaves, We said, "This looks like a service opportunity. We don't have this many leaves in SoCal. Its kinda sad.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Missionaries sang as they walk and knock.... 9/29/14

and walk and knock and walk and knock and walk and knock.... AAAAAAAAAND WALK!!!!!

That right there was pretty much the story of the week but IT WAS SO GREAT! Haha Highlights of the week also included going to Oscoda and getting to see Lake Huron! The work moved a little slower this week but reminds me a lot of my first transfer in Grand Rapids. Things are starting to pick up! We found some really wonderful people.

My trade off in Oscoda was definitely one of the more interesting days of my mission. It was full of awesome spiritual moments and some that were just plain nuts. We visited this couple named Jeff and Sandy, and pulling up to there house made me think I was in the back woods of Alabama. They lived in an old, big, country house, and they had this trailer and this tree in the front yard that made me feel like I was on Beverly Hillbillies, but they were the sweetest people. Jeff, unfortunately was plastered drunk. Jeff stands about 5 foot 6, looks like the Hulk, and has this super sick curly blonde mullet thing going on. He would go on about how bad things were going and how we wants God and that he wants to change. We asked him later in the lesson if he wanted to change and he would go "no man... lifes good lifes good... You wanna work out?" I can't exactly describe what happened, but it was an interesting lesson. At the end, Elder Giovinini says, "We should pray." And Jeff suddenly cuts him off, stares up into the distance with the most Epic face I have ever seen and shouted, "LORD! God! Jesus! Heavenly Father!" and every other name associated with God. He delivered the most epic prayer I have ever heard. I looked up part way through and Elder Giovinini had this surpised, confused, mouth happen open look on his face that I will never forget.He held it for 30 seconds. I felt so bad, but I was trying so hard not to bust up laughing. But they did give us hot dogs and apple pie, and they were an incredibly sweet family. Jeff is just a beast haha.

We taught this older gentleman named James Finlayson, a retired military chaplain, and had an awesome lesson with him. We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and then it somehow turned into the restoration, and the whole time, he is quoting the Book of Mormon the whole time without realizing it. He was super excited about the idea that he could find out for himself that it was true. He was a really cool man. 

The people as a whole remind me a lot of King Lamoni from Alma 18 in the Book of Mormon. They believe in "the great spirit" but know nothing about what, who, or why he is. These last 3 weeks have really made me thankful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. When we understand who God is, life itself will begin to make sense. The Lord has let us to a ton of people this week, and quite a few of them are families. We have been fasting and praying to know where to go and what to say to these people and the Lord is making things happen. The ball is moving forward slowly, which is the hardest part sometimes, but thank heavens it is moving. This week has been special. Even though all we did was walk and knock and walk and knock, we saw small and simple miracles that have meant the world to me. I know that the Lord is taking care of his servants. I have never felt more love and compassion in my life. I am finally coming to know who the Lord is. Oh what joy fills my heart each and every day. I wish I had the words to tell all the details of the days here, and what it means to me, but the only way I feel like these things can be understood is to serve a mission. 

Love you all!
Elder Wheat


Me and Lake Huron

Lake Huron

If I were a candy bar....

Me and the Comp after moving some rocks...

9/22/14

I wish that everyone could feel the joy that I feel. I wish that all of God's children would accept his plan so that they can experience the feelings that I do every night as I say my nightly prayers. I wake up with a song in my heart and all I can do is smile. I understand how cheesy it sounds , but there joy in knowing how your Heavenly Father feels about you. If only the world would listen. I feel like Alma at times as he cried out, "Oh that I were an angel!" But regardless, the invitation is open to all. Come. Join with us.

The week has been a good one in Houghton Lake. It is a tough area. I feel like everyone is angry with God, but they have helped me to dive a little deeper and find out what kind of a parent god is. He really is the ideal father. We have helped a few people understand his nature by comparing the way they behave as parents. "Have you ever told your kids no? Why?" We asked a woman named Amy. "Because the thing they wanted wasn't the best thing for them. You tell them no because you have something better in mind for them." We helped her understand that God had not abandoned her. That God sometimes with holds things from us because he knows better than we do. That he wants to play a role in our lives, but sometimes we act like disgruntled teenagers and turn away from him, complaining that he doesn't care and doesn't understand, when we are the ones who shut him out. We had an awesome lesson with her. I was able to relate to her very well. She was shocked when she found out I was 19. She was awesome! She committed to daily prayer and scripture study. I really do testify that it works! Draw near to him, and he will draw nearer to you.

I also have found that many here feel as though they are failures. When we asked a single mom named Shannon how she thought God felt about her. She said, "I think he is ashamed of me." We were able to testify to her with all our hearts that God is not ashamed and never could be. We asked her how she would feel if her daughter made a mistake and came to her for help. She said that she would love her no matter what and do anything she could to help her through it. We were able to share that God feels the same for her. We testified that through the atonement, she could be changed, and be made 100% whole. We shared experiences from our own lives and how the Gospel makes it possible. We also shared that she was out in Middle of Nowhere, Michigan but we were led to knock on her door. God had sent us there to help her. As she prayed, she broke down, and said, "Thank you for sending these men here. I pray that this works. Amen." She is the sweetest lady.

The last experience I wanted to share was about a man named Robert. He felt as though he wasn't being a good enough dad. He was overwhelmed, because he didn't feel like he was making the right parenting moves. As we talked to him about this, we felt prompted to invite him to read the Book of Mormon with the question, "What kind of parent is God?" He was very interested in that. He was a fine man. I know that reading the Book of Mormon or the Bible with similar questions will help change us. I hope that he does it, for it will help him come to know how God feels towards him.

These people are amazing and they don't even know it. I love these people with all my heart. What I wouldn't give to help them realize who they truly are. We are children of God, brothers and sisters, working towards the common goal. This is true regardless of class, creed, race, or appearance. Let us love and serve one another in anyway that we can, and we will be filled with this love! 

Elder Wheat


Michigander for Life!






Saturday, September 20, 2014

9/15/14

I am safe and sound in Houghton Lake! This area is awesome! The branch had about 15 members at church yesterday, way different from my last area. The lake is beautiful and the town is small. It literally revolves around the lake. It is a summer tourist town, so the population is sinking as the temperatures do. It is very rainy and the thermometer is settling pretty consistently in the 40s. Gotta love North Michigan! I knocked my first dirt/mud road the other day. This place is great! haha We are pretty much starting over with the investigators here. We do a lot of tracting, but things are looking up! Elder Campbell and I are getting along great! Our personalities are very different, but man am I loving him! 

This week has shown me how much the Lord has helped me grow on my mission. It doesn't matter how cold, how wet, or how many people say no, I am just happy. We have had some awesome experiences this week. I don't think I have ever had more spiritually charged lessons than we've had this week! We have been able to help a lot of less active members find hope this week. I feel like I relate to a lot of the people here.

We don't really have any progressing investigators, and so we have been pleading to find those who are prepared. There are a lot of people here that are "all set" with their faith. They know god is there, but that is about it... and they don't want to get much closer. We met a guy who told us to "go tell your pastor that you found a lost soul" I asked, "well do you want to be found?" and he goes, "No sir." haha But I do want to tell 2 stories from the week that illustrate how thankful I am to know the Lord is guiding us. 

We were knocking down a dirt country road wayyyyy out in the forest in the middle of nowhere. We knocked for about 2 hours and got back to the car when we felt to go a little farther. We went for about another half hour and nothing happened. We went back to the car and I had a thought to go check on a man we had tried earlier, but he wasn't home. We pull up and there was a woman in the down stairs door way. We started talking to her and she opened up to us a little bit. She expressed that she was angry with God because her dad, who was her everything, died. She concluded that we just live to die. She was just looking for answers. She was actually just leaving when we walked up. We expressed to her that we could help know the purpose of life and why and why and where her dad was. She invited us back this Thursday and I am praying that things go well. She was a miracle find. 

The coolest story was yesterday. We were driving down the main road next to the lake and I mentioned to Elder Campbell that we needed to take a picture next to the lake later. He said that there was a spot at the end of our street that we could do it at. The next part happened very fast. We are running low on miles this month and the person we were going really far away so I suggested we go somewhere else. Soon after Elder Campbell pulled into a park looking over the lake and suggested we just do the picture here and now. We saw a guy (his name is Joe) and we asked if he would take a picture for us. He looks at our tags, and goes, "Oh my goodness, I am seeing all kinds of messages from God lately. You guys gotta here this." He tells us that he found God in prison. He was just recently released two days ago and he had no money and nowhere to live. His boss then offered a place to live and he immediately found a job. He started going to church and was praying that he could see his son, and in walks his son. He says "and now I am talking to two guys that represent Jesus Christ. This is crazy." We told him who we were and what we do and he goes, "can I give you my number and call me and we will set something up?" Yes Joe, yes you can. I don't understand how that happened. Everything just fell into place so beautifully. The Lord knows what he is doing.

Yesterday, we were door knocking and I looked at Elder Campbell and said, "Elder, Isn't life great? Like, We have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ at our fingertips. We know exactly what it takes to receive exaltation. Isn't it great??" The next door we knocked on was like all the others. They said no. Walking down the steps, I said, "hey Elder guess what... WE STILL HAVE THE FULLNESS OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL!" Who cares if people say no? That should only hurt us because it ultimately hurts them. But we have every reason to be happy. Maybe thats why I am so happy... I guess the secret is looking up to God, rather than sideways to man. I feel that discouragement is a result of putting our hope in something other than God. What are we to hope for? A game? A job? A grade? A paycheck? No. We are to hope that through the atonement of Christ, everything will be made ok (Moroni 7:41). When our hope is in the Savior, we never need be discouraged, for everything will be ok in the eternities because of him. There are no endings or lasting heart breaks because of the One who took it all on himself. Because of him, we never need to be discouraged! We have every reason to rejoice! He lives! Let us look to Christ and live!!!

With all my love,
Elder Wheat






Sunday, September 14, 2014

9/8/2014

I am being transferred to Houghton Lake, Michigan and will be serving with Elder Campbell. It is a tiny rural town in North Central Michigan and has a branch of about 30 active members. MAN am I excited!! Transfers has to be my least favorite part of the work. I just fall in love with the areas and people I serve. This one was extremely difficult to leave. I have given my heart and soul to Grand Rapids these last 4 months and it brings me so much joy to see how well the work is progressing there. It is exploding. I have learned so much in that city, and I feel like being here has helped me become a better man. They say if it is hard to leave, you did it right, which is comforting, but doesn't make it any easier.
The area is being left in good hands. Elder Erekson is a stud and my replacement Elder Elmer is a saint. I am so excited to see what they will do!! Our top investigator Fred is the greatest. He drinks coffee every morning, but when we taught him the word of wisdom, he not only accepted it, but he handed us 2 brand new coffee makers and pots, all his coffee, all his sweetner, and all other coffee paraphernalia and told us to throw it away for him. I was nervous of how he would take it all, but the man is truly elect. I am really going to miss him... Irene and fam is still great, but they have bed bugs... and I saw one on the couch haha I don't think I stopped itching the rest of the night. So paranoid. They are still coming to church and are doing well!
I unfortunately don't have much time today, but I just want to share how wonderful it is to be a missionary. I have never been happier. I have never felt so close to the Lord and I have never been filled with so much love. He is changing my heart and I never want to leave his side again. I am so grateful for his atoning sacrifice which allows each of us to grow. True happiness and purpose is found in the service of the Lord! I testify that that is true! Love you all!
Elder Wheat

The District

Irene and Family

Brother Goates! He is one of 3 men that has become like a father to me.

Ethan Valentine, one of our miracle investigators

Bro Krieg! The man is a genius. The assistant ward mission leader.

Mike Nelson! Just moved in from Riverside, and is getting his masters in Speech therapy. He comes out with us a lot! Love this guy!


This cane belonged to Lorenzo Snow, 5th prophet in these last days.

So did this Book of Mormon

The Raue's. I love this family. They have taught me more than anyone. They go through so much and are always able to smile!

The Family reunion!