Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finding Family 7/22/14

Holy Smokes time is going by fast. I don't understand how it has already been six months... Crazy.

Life as a missionary really is the best. I must admit that I am gaining a testimony of the principle of fasting. The missionaries in my district (6 of us in all) agreed to participate in a 7 day fast for a few purposes, one of which is finding prepared families. The fast is still going and we are already seeing miracles. Every companionship has found a new family to teach!! Let me tell you about ours. 

A few weeks ago, we taught a woman named Becky on her front porch. It was a total train wreck... We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and then squeezed in the Restoration and it was just WAYYYYYYY to much information. We set an appointment with her to meet again this past Wednesday. I was 95% we were going to get stood up, but she invited us right in, had a tuna fish sandwich for the both of us, and her husband Ken, and her friends Dennis and Erica were there too waiting to be taught.... It was so cool!!! We all sat down and started teaching the restoration. All of them are graduates of a Christian college in Grand Rapids and they are very well versed in scriptures. Erica was taking notes, and Ken and Dennis had some stellar questions. They asked why we need prophets and we read Ephesians 4:11-14 (read it, its a great scripture) and it struck a chord with Ken. We asked what that meant to him, and he said that deviation from the doctrine was definitely not a good thing. He now understands the great apostasy and the need for a restoration. The spirit was so powerful as we taught the first vision, and Ken was reading the Book of Mormon before we even left. Dennis wants his wife and other roommate to sit in on the next lesson. All of these people live in one house, so we just call them the Clan because we don't know what else to call them haha.

The next Family was a family from Nepal. Unfortunately, I don't speak Nepali, so there is a bit of a language barrier, but Tecc (the dad0 is very eager to learn.  They are such a great family!!

The last woman is named Irene. Her and her family are refugees from the Congo that moved to Michigan about 7 months ago. Sadly, my Swahili is a little rusty and my French is even worse, so we need a translator (thankfully, Mormons are often bilingual and we know one who speaks french.) They have obviously been through a lot. We couldn't understand each other much, but we did pray together. It was a very special. I know that the spirit is without a doubt universal. The smiles that were on there faces were so beautiful... they need the gospel so bad. The whole family followed us out, and Irene pointed to her 8 year old son and said in broken English, "He will be a missionary one day." It was beautiful.

I don't know if you all remember Yasmine, but she was the miracle story from a few weeks ago where I tapped my GPS and there she was. But an update on her: She has totally dropped drinking (she eats candy when she gets the urge) and coffee (which she drinks more than water) just like that! She is working on the 7 day smoking program as well. She is so awesome. She doesn't understand much of what we teach, but I know she feels the spirit. She says that every time we meet, she feels like there is nothing that can ruin her day. She is so awesome :) She really needs to get to church but that is ok! We will get there!

Remember Cynthia? the lady who we cast evil spirits from her house last week? Well we went back to see her, and things have been awesome for her. She says that things have been so great since we came the first time and she feels at peace for the first time. We taught her the plan of salvation, and she is super solid. She wants us to teach her son and daughter. 

The Lord is being so good! I am so thankful for his patience with me and his infinite love. I know that he lives and that the fullness of his gospel has been restored. It has changed me forever. I have never been so happy, and I wish that everyone could feel the way that I do. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that all who read it and pray to know its truthfulness will know. Most of all, is my testimony of Jesus Christ. He lives, he speaks, and he loves. I love him with all my heart! 

Elder Wheat
The Sisters made me a cake!!!!

The Berlin Wall

I really wish missionaries could ride these bikes

Thank Goodness for Michigan!!!! (Quote by Abe Lincoln)

Me and the Grand River

Monday, July 14, 2014

I have grown older today 07/14/14

Every time I think I won't have any more crazy stories, I end up having one....

We received a referral from the sisters for a woman named Cynthia, who had just lost her son to what was believed to be an overdose. She has been having a crazy few weeks. Her mom just died, her son just died, and her other son was shot 5 times last week... We went with Brother Banner (coolest old man in Michigan) to go see her a few days ago. She was distraught, and rightfully so. She has been desperately trying to find answers from God and hadn't been getting anything. The whole time she was talking to us, I was thinking, how on earth are we going to help her. She mentioned that she just wanted direction. She said that she was feeling a spirit come accross the room every night. She couldn't sleep at all and she was just going crazy. The thought came that we should give her a blessing. I was asked to offer it. In the blessing, I felt very prompted to say, "I command any spirits that wish to do you harm to depart." 
After the blessing, she exclaimed, "Why did you say that??" I said, "you know, I am not sure..." She said, "Every night I see a black spirit come across the room from the head of the couch where I sleep down..." We talked a little bit more about how the atonement can help us find relief, and we left. She was smiling when we left, and she said she felt way better.

On the ride home, Brother Banner said, "Gentlemen, we've gotten older today." He was right. Just this week, we taught a man who sold drugs and been in and out of jail until a few years ago. He was 65 (and super solid by the way). We gave a blessing to a recent converts sister who was suffering from a health issue that could kill her any minute. This is a crazy world. I have seen things I never thought I would see. I have no idea how these people do it. My goodness.

It has been an awesome week nonetheless. We are being so blessed. We have found 10 new investigators in the last 3 weeks, and I swear the Lord has been guiding every step. We pray to know where to go, and a few minutes later, we are led to exactly where we need to be. If only I could write about the experiences from this week alone.  I know that the Lord is going before our faces and leading the way.

We got to meet the new mission president this week! President Jacobsen is definitely a coach. He compared the hastening of the work to the no huddle offense. We now run the spread in the Michigan Lansing Mission. Yea... I am going to love this guy haha Thank you so much to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! It meant so much to me you have no idea!

I have said it before and I don't think I will ever stop, but I know that this work is true. Joseph Smith really was a prophet. Every time I tell or hear the restoration story, the air in the room changes. I know that he saw what he said he saw. I know most of all that Jesus is the Christ. He is changing me. I feel like a totally different person than when I came out. His atonement changes lives. Even if my mission doesn't change anyone in Michigan, every second has been worth it, because it is changing me. He Lives. None of us ever has reason to despair because of him. I know of my own strength I can do nothing, but we can do anything, because of him.

This cat doesn't like anyone btw... Except me... I don't know why


This has been a growing week for me. We didn't teach to many lessons, but I have learned a lot. The weather lately has been pretty wacky. We had a crazy storm roll in last night. I remember just sitting on the balcony, hearing the rain coming, and seeing the lightning light up the sky, and I just started to sing "How Great Thou Art." It was a really cool experience for some reason. No matter what storm rolls in, there is always peace in thinking about the greatness of the savior. 

I sadly don't have any fun stories this week, except for maybe one. We stopped in to visit a 90 year old baptist reverend and his 85 year old wife. They were wonderful people!! They started by saying, "we hope you guys learn something today," and I thought, "Oh boy." They asked where do you think we came from? I whipped out Jeremiah 1:5, and I swear all I read was, "before I formed thee in the belly," and I said nothing else for the hour we were there. Reverend goes, "Wait where??" and I go, "The belly?" and he goes, "NO!!!! From the GROUND!!!" They proceeded to go on for an hour about how we come from the ground, how Adam "knew" his wife and somehow that equated to Mrs. Reverends past life of gambling and selling marijuana... It was... interesting. They were such wonderful people though! Could not have been nicer.

My first district meeting went really well. The zone leaders told me they would be there, but what they didn't tell me was they were going to be on trade offs with the Assistants, and right before we started in walks Elder Dericott, and I was like, "Well great!" It turned out to be an awesome experience. I seriously just have the greatest district in the whole world!!! Afterwards, Elder Dericott told me it was the best district meeting he has ever been to. I am so thankful the spirit was there to take over!

All I can share this week is this: We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, and we prophecy Christ, and we will become like Christ. I know the Savior lives and his atonement is real. I cannot ever repay what he has done for me. I wonder which drop of blood did I make him shed, and I know it has been far, far to many, but I am thankful that he did it. I am so grateful that because of him, each of us can begin again. Through faith, repentance, and baptism, our sins and there effects can be completely washed away. Everything that is unfair or difficult about life is covered by the Savior and his atonement. As we make covenants with him, we access the fullness of his power. Through his atonement, we can be completely transformed. I know how hard it is to give up our old ways and plastic pearls, but I know of the real ones Jesus offers us. Life is easy when you rely on the savior, for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. I know he lives and I know his love.

Elder Wheat
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Work Rolls On 07/01/14

Oh man! How do I even begin to write about this week! It has been miraculous. Let me just write about Tuesday. Lets begin with a little back story. This last week, we set special goals for new investigators, and I wanted to really focus on inviting people to be baptized. 

So anyways, Tuesday. 

Remember Yasmine from last week? We went back to see her. I thought for sure that we were going to get stood up, but she was on the porch waiting for us. We started teaching the Restoration and it was going very well. Elder Erekson is a very simple teacher which was wonderful in this lesson. At the end, we were testifying to her that if she were to read and pray about this, she would know that it is true. She says, "I feel like I already do. I have this tingly feeling I can't really describe. Its like that feeling when you pray." I was screaming inside. Just saying. 

Next we door knocked into this 20 year old kid who was helping a friend move. He invited us in to talk for a few minutes. From the moment we sat down, he started firing off questions. We had a really good talk, and it concluded by him saying, "I have been studying the New Testament, and I just feel like the church had so much fire then, so much stuff happened. I wonder why it's not like that anymore." I was like Dude, you have no idea. Unfortunately, he doesn't live in our area, so we had to refer him to the Elders in the next ward.

Later that evening, we were trying to find a place to go, and the name of a potential investigator, named Patricia popped into my head. We stopped in, and she invited us right in. She is from Mexico, and she invited her 13 year old granddaughter Anna to come sit in. We taught them the Restoration, and I will never their faces. They were nearly in tears. Anna jumped at the idea of reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. They immediately accepted the invitation to be baptized. They came to church on Sunday, and it was the most stressful 3 hours of my life! I am just holding out faith that the Lord will continue to work on them as we do. 

Upon leaving their house, we talked to an awesome lady waiting for the bus, and picked her up as an investigator later in the week. 

In total, we found 5 new investigators, and put 3 on date to be baptized. We are seeing absolute miracles!!!!! 

Just an update on the area. It is getting really hot and humid. It is GREAT!! Being a trainer is tough though. I am learning as a go, and I pray that Elder Erekson will too!! The Lord is so good to us! I know that he lives, and this is his church! Hurrah for Israel!!!

Elder Wheat

I'm a dad!! 06/23/14

Elder Juston Erekson! My first born son in the mission!! He definitely takes after his dad! He is a former football player from Grand Junction, Colorado! He is so enthusiastic and positive. Every 5 seconds he is cracking some sort of joke! He is so ready to be here and he is loving his mission already! He is a great cook which is wonderful because I am a great eater! We have been seeing miracles together already!! I am definitely going to be learning more from him than he is from me.

The lesson I have learned this week is that the spirit will always guide you where you need to be. On Wednesday, (Elder Erekson's first day) we had an appointment fall through. We were guided to go visit a new investigator we hadn't seen in 2 weeks. We stopped in and talked to her for awhile about the love of God. She expressed her guilt for failing to live up to her promises she made to God, and that she felt hopeless. We taught Deja about how the atonement makes up for it, and promised her that what we share will bring her lasting happiness. It was powerful. We went back on Saturday, and taught her and her cousin the Restoration. There was a different light in Deja, and she was so excited about what we are sharing. She definitely has a lot of fire!!!

The experience we had that night however was probably one of the most powerful on my mission. We planned to meet with the Mobely's, but when we went by, they had family that just arrived from Oklahoma that they hadn't seen in years, so we decided to reschedule. As I reached down to grab the GPS, my finger accidentally hit a random street a few blocks away. I didn't think much of it, and I tried figuring out who we could see on a Saturday night at 8:00. I looked at the screen again, and I had a strong impression that said, "go there." We said why not and started knocking upon arrival. About three houses in, we met a husband and wife who were shouting the most horrible things at one another. The wife came out to us, still shouting at him, out of spite for him. It was a rather awkward situation. I thought about handing her a card and walking away, but the spirit restrained me. She said with tears, "you guys came at the wrong time." I thought about what she said for a second and I said, "I couldn't think of a better time." We asked, who are you. She looked at us and said, "Me? I am nobody," and ran away bursting in tears and we followed. She told us she needed to walk anywhere else, and so we walked with her. We testified to her who she really was. A daughter of God with divine nature. She asked, "where did you come from?" I was about to say California when the words, "From God," left my lips. She smiled and said, "I knew you would come. My friends said I was crazy, but I knew he would send you today. I have been praying all day. I have been expecting you." When we walked back, she was smiling and thanking God for sending us the whole way home.

At first glance, one might consider to be "one of the least of these our bretheren." She lived in the ghetto and was skin and bones. Her hair was a mess and her teeth and toenails were unkempt. She spoke with poor grammar and obviously had little education, but Heavenly Father loved her, and I do too. I have been studying a lot lately trying to figure out who God really is. I want to know his nature for myself. That night, I got my answer. In a miraculous way, we were led to a place that we had no intention of being to visit her. God knew her and her situation. He was mindful of her. He sent us far out of our own way so that we could console this woman.I recently found a verse that describes how I feel: "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever." (Alma 26:37).

His eye is on the sparrow. His eye was on Yasmine. And his eye is on each of us. He loves us and watches over us. He knows us and what we are going through, know matter what our situation. He knows our names, and what we are feeling. How glorious and wonderful is our Father. It is humbling to be his servant and his instrument is lifting the hands that hang down in sorrow. There is no greater joy on this earth!! God lives. God is our Father. God is Love.

Elder Wheat