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


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. 


Elder Wheat

The snow

The District

The Zone Leaders