Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12/28/15

The work decided to blow up on Tuesday... So I will just take you through our day.

We started off door knocking, and about an hour and a half in, we scared the heck out of this poor young woman, so her boyfriend came to the door. We stated our purpose and asked if he was interested and he said "yea totally," went in, grabbed his jacket, then came and sat on the step. He was probably in his mid 20s, and told us about how he used to be very involved in church as a teenager, then went the way of the world in high school. He admitted he was miserable and wanted to come back. God had been sending him messages, especially the last few weeks, and our visit was the climax of it. We taught him the restoration which he was very excited about. Way solid young man... I hope things work out!

After this we had a lesson with Meg, who has been struggling a little lately. However, we had an awesome lesson with her on the gospel of Jesus Christ and she definitely felt the spirit. We felt prompted to invite her to be baptized, and she committed to February 20 :) So excited for her!! Later that night, we had a lesson with a new potential named Roni. We met her the night of General Conference, but finally was able to set an appointment with her. She was brought up Catholic but stopped attending church as she got older. She has lived next door with the missionaries for a year now and is very curious about us and what we do. We taught her the Restoration, which went very well, and we committed her to be baptized on March 5.

So happy for this area, and how well its doing... On Christmas we picked up a new part member family, and the one we are already working with is doing well. Details may have to come another time. I remember how apprehensive I was when we were white washed in, that the work wouldn't progress, and now, everything is picking up speed rather quickly.

As many of you know, this is my last email as a missionary, which is pretty shocking for me.. It still doesn't feel real that everything comes to an end in two short days. My mission means everything to me. Missionary work has become everything that I am, and the gospel is my life. Everything about my life has been changed and will never be the same. I don't think I fully realize how much has changed for me. I have noticed that becoming like Christ needs to take time to take root, and His attributes come so slowly, that you hardly notice you are developing them, until you look back. Now I am in no way close to being like Christ, but I am thankful that I am getting closer. I love the Lord, and am coming to know him better. Like Ammon, "I cannot say the smallest part of which I feel." You know, I guess it doesn't feel like its ending, because its not.  In this church, we serve because of covenant, not calling, and I am his in whatever capacity he wants me to serve. Thankfully, being a missionary has become more than a title, but who I am. 

In the words of 2 John 1:12: "Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." I love you all! See you soon  :)
I will really miss this title... 

With love 

Elder Wheat

My Posterity!!

Elder's Christmas Picture!!

12/21/15

This week has been a flurry of experiences and emotions, and it amazes me how fast I forget. I will start with the more casual yet wonderful experiences, and will conclude with the more sacred.
This week, Elder Cornelison picked up his first son Elder Boyack. He is 20 years old from a place called Monmouth, Oregon near Salem. He loves singing, ukelele, and exercise so safe to say we get along wonderfully well. He is a good kid. Have to be honest though, it is so weird being in a trio, especially when I am not the senior companion. It will be a growing experience for me to simply sit back and observe in a companionship. Elder Cornelison has been super impressive. The growth, maturity, and confidence I have seen in him over the last week has been insane to see. He is a different man than he was even a week ago. He has helped me to see that I have so much to improve.
We were only able to work only 2 days in the area this week, but we saw an awesome miracle. We had an appointment with a part member family, and we weren't sure what to expect. Usually it goes that the non member spouse isn't interested and you end up sharing a short spiritual thought, but this one was different. Not only did they keep the appointment, but they made us the BEST quesadilla I have ever had, and they invited there Daughter and 2 grandkids who wanted to learn. The member just moved in 3 months ago and didn't know where or when church was. His wife has investigated before and already knows the church is true by the power of the Holy Ghost. Their daughter asked US how to download the Gospel Library app, and their grandkids, ages 8 and 9 are the cutest things on earth. The basically said, "Hi! Nice to meet you! Please come in, eat our food, and teach our family." That is LITERALLY the missionary dream. Picking up 4 new investigators is not a bad way to finish off our greenie's first day.
Now for the special part of the week. On Tuesday, I got to go to the temple with the departing missionaries, many of whom are very close friends of mine. It was one of the best days of my life. It was filled with the Holy Ghost, and I won't ever forget it. There is something special about being with a faithful and obedient group of missionaries who have served faithfully. It was an honor to be with them. Being in the temple... there are no words. It just felt so good to be home. That truly is a house of God. For those who don't know, the temple is very special to us as members of the church. It is the closest we can get to being in heaven in this life. The only place that comes close is the home. I went with the intention of going to the Lord, and asking him if he had accepted my offering, but I didn't even need to ask before I got my answer. The entire time I was there, I had a fire in my heart that seemed to whisper, "You already know."
I honestly don't understand why the Lord would accept me sometimes. My character has so many holes and my effort often has so many lapses. There is so much I yet lack. All I can pray is that I have become everything the Lord has wanted me to be through my mission. I was reminded this week of a truth I learned previously. The longer I serve the Lord, the more I become aware of the immense distance between the Lord and I, yet, ironically, I feel closer to him than at any time in my life. I love him. I owe Him everything. I wish my actions would reflect the desires and feelings of my heart, but I suppose that is what life is all about! That's why a Savior was born.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. In the most recent Ensign, Elder D. Todd Christofferson suggested that we all take a moment to be still, and just think of nothing else than the serenity of that first Christmas night. Forget everything that will happen in his subsequent life, and yours, and realize that He was the Son of God. By so doing you will remember that you are a child of God also :) Love you all!!
Elder Wheat

My Gingerbread house!!!

The Trio!!

I'm training.... AGAIN!!!! 12/14/15

Ok... well I am not really training... but my son is.. and I get to help until I go home!! I really look forward to being in a trio again. I feel like I am just going to be that awkward grandpa that's staying at your house for Christmas... and they just can't wait for you to leave haha But man am I proud of Elder Cornelison.. The man is prepared, no doubts about it. 

The work slowed down this week... but things will be improving. We have a lot of good potentials waiting to be picked up. The next two weeks are going to be crazy with going to the temple tomorrow, picking up the new missionary on Thursday, zone conference the next Wednesday, and Christmas shortly following that... I am just looking forward to working. I had an experience this week where I became very overwhelmed with all that I have left undone. I was very frustrated by all I still hold back, but after prayer and study, I had a realization. We can be holding nothing back in the Lord's service and still be imperfect, as long as we are still trying. This is what the Savior died for. If there is ever evidence that the Savior can cover for and complete our offerings. it would be my life and my mission. 

Life is good. I have been so blessed in the Lords service. Yesterday I got to see Jennifer and Maddi again, and it is seriously like seeing family.. I am so thankful I came to Michigan... I thank the Lord every day. Sorry this is so short.. I will do better next week... I love you all!!

Elder Wheat

The District

Gotta love Michigan sunsets. If there is anything good about rain, it usually brings a view like this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

12/7/15

You know... a lot has happened this week, but at the moment I can't remember any of it. 

I will start with the obvious miracle. MIKE WAS BAPTIZED!! The service was awesome :) He asked me to speak, and I had a very cool experience. While I was speaking I got to see something no one else did. He sat at the front so only I could see his face. Some were wondering if Mike really was doing this for the right reasons, but as I spoke about the miracle of what he was about to do, I looked and saw him wiping away tears. He is such a special man :) Can't wait to get them sealed to his wife. 

Some of you might be wondering or remembering what it is like to be a missionary in the position I am in. By way of talking about the elephant in the room, I have a little over 3 weeks left as a missionary. To be honest, it is a huge flurry of emotions. It is a mixed bag of terror, excitement, and sorrow. There is a lot that I am looking forward to about being home, but last week, I had a moment where I realized this won't last forever. I have given two years of my life to these people, but I feel like I have also given them my heart. Its been a very overwhelming week. You are constantly worrying and reevaluating yourself, wondering and realizing that your aren't giving enough. The imperfections become much more glaring, and more condemning because you have so little time to correct them. For me, its like I am taking my final exam, then forgetting everything you have studied. It becomes a test not of what you have memorized, but of what has truly sunk inside. In short, it becomes a test of what you have learned, but what you have become. 

The work of the Lord moves on, and I am realizing I need to spend less time worrying, and more time being grateful. It's been my blessing on my mission to work with and support those who are experiencing things that only Job of the Old Testament would understand. We have and investigator who has 6 kids under the age of 9, who was married to an incredibly evil and abusive man, and is in the middle of divorcing him. That only scratches the surface of what she is experiencing, and we are the ones who she turns to for answer. It gets very overwhelming at times, especially since we are only 19 and 20 years old, and don't have, nor ever could have the life experience to say or do anything to help. It is a miracle to me that this works. It never ceases to amaze me. It is life changing to feel the spirit work through you, and as the words come out of your mouth, see the look on their face of, "Did that seriously come out of the mouth of a kid?" Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable. 

I love it all. I am going to miss it more than I think I now realize. My only prayer is to finish well, and to give what the Lord deserves to receive from me.

Elder Wheat

Back in downtown!!

Mike's baptism!!!!

11/30/15

I wrote something this morning that describes my feelings this week:
The aching grows stronger
The longer I yield.
But I did not come for ease, 
I came to be healed.
The path I am on,
Christ has been here before.
And when I see affliction
He sees a cure.
A Savior or a Surgeon?
Perhaps He is both.
Who does not care for my comfort 
As much as my growth.
Cut on thou Great Physician
Lest in my haste
The pain to this point 
Would be but a waste.
Cut on thou great physician,
I plead as I kneel.
That I might yet be,
Perfected and Healed.
Sometimes when we encounter trials, our first inclination is to pray that the trouble be taken from us. I have come to realize, however how short sighted that is. Some might say God is cruel because he lets the challenges persist, but which is more merciful? The doctor who stops mid operation, or the doctor who keeps going, no matter the pain it causes, because he knows its the only way to remedy the afflicted. I always tell the Lord I love him before I close my prayers, but sometimes I fear that it becomes merely words. I am learning that we show our love for God by being faithful to him, especially when we don't feel him close, or there at all.
All of this being said, I need to write about a great miracle that happened this week! Mike Hebert is a man we have been teaching since we got here. He was Elder Cornelison's first investigator. We have invited him to turn to God to know if this is the true church, but with his age and situation, I quietly feared he wasn't capable of feeling the spirit. Nevertheless, he has done everything we ask him to do, and this week he got his answer. When we first taught him, he got very emotional about the idea of eternal families, and desperately misses his wife who has passed away. Something seemed a little off in our lesson this week, and he momentarily got up to leave. When he came back, he said, "I did what you asked. I prayed to know if the church I was going to was the right one, and right after I prayed, I smelled perfume." We asked what that meant to him, and he said, "It was my wife" and he started to cry. I cannot tell you the joy that filled that room.. I felt like rising up and with a fist pump and a yell. He is getting baptized this Saturday, and asked Elder Cornelison to baptize him. It was even Elder Cornelison's birthday. Such a great blessing.
I must say all is well. All the problems of a mission can be solved with a little work. I must say I really don't like Holidays as a missionary, because we don't get to work like we want. It is going to be a good feeling getting back out and hitting the pavement for another week.
Elder Wheat

11/23/15

The Lord never does cease to answer our prayers. I apologize that my recent emails have been lagging. I suppose their is just too much to say and not enough time.
I wanted to briefly tell you about a couple of people we picked up this week and update you on some others.
We found a new woman named Christy who is the sweetest thing on planet earth. She reminds me so much of Sarah and Amber, two women I have previously taught. So submissive and humble. She grew up in church, but stopped pursuing it as she got older. Recently her two daughters have expressed a desire to attend church and so she has been getting much much more interested. A few days later, we knocked on the door. Its been a while trying to meet with her but things finally worked out. It was kind of a crazy lesson with all her kids running around, but it worked out well. She even let us wash her dishes! Score! Even with everything going on she definitely felt the spirit. She said the first vision gave her a feeling of hope that God is there and is watching over her. Such a great moment.
The other update I wanted to give was Meg. Her divorce proceedings have been as bad as she predicted, and all is barely being held together. We were finally able to meet with her, and shared how the savior can ease our burdens though Reading, praying, church, and covenants, and she was amazed. She would often laugh while we were teaching, and when we asked why, she said, "You are wise beyond your years." We extended the baptismal invitation and she said, "I already was baptized, but I have been wanting to get rebaptized, because I have a feeling the first one wasn't done right." Explained that feeling was because the priesthood wasn't restored yet and everything clicked. She isn't on date yet, because of all going on, but stay tuned.
PLEASE keep all of our investigators in your prayers. We have an awesome teaching pool, but all of them are going through very difficult obstacles that make their progression difficult.
Bonus story!!: We got picked up as investigators. Yes. You read that right. We got let in to this awesome young couples house, and they were preaching so hard core. The husband was on one topic and verse and the wife was on another. I had no idea where they were going. Apparently anything not written by Paul wasn't written to us, therefore we don't need to follow it. Ten commandments? Sermon on the mount? all irrelevant. They even gave us a pamphlet, a book to read with their number in it, and wrapped it up with an invitation to church and a bible study. Sound familiar? Just give them a preach my gospel and they are set to go!!
Life is good as always. The most difficult part of these last weeks is realizing how much is yet to be done, and worse yet realizing that it can't all be accomplished in 6 weeks. I am learning that the work never really is done. My mission may not end wrapped up like a Christmas present with a bow, but I can give it all I have. I wish I could do more, but I know that the grace of the Savior will complete my offering. Here is to being a finisher!
Elder Wheat


Ever heard of Marne? Neither has anyone else haha

Happy Snow day!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

11/16/2015

In walked the Geer family to church with there 20 year old daughter. The talked to us briefly and said, "By the way, this is Andrea and she is interested in joining the church. She even knows who she wants to baptize her, all she needs is the lessons." We were obviously pretty pumped about that.
It's been a great week. I have been praying for the Lord to remove the stumbling blocks of our investigators and he is answering. Mike Hebert is 77 and has a tough time retaining, but he is coming to church every week, poured out all his coffee without us reminding him, and even paid tithing yesterday. He is a different man than the one we found 2 months ago. I look forward to seeing what else will be done this week.
Reason number 789385 that I love Elder Cornelison. The man is always trying to improve. This week we found a new approach to door knocking and he was giving me suggestions to improve like a seasoned pro. We have seen a ton of success with it this week and are looking forward to getting back to work.
If I am being completely honest, the only time I am happy really is when I am working. It is the great secret to missionary service. I am doing the best that I can and not looking back. We will have some great stories to tell this next week.
Elder Wheat

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

They Are Out There 11/2/15

Story of the week!!

Halloween was very cold and very wet, and we were outside all day. Very fun!! haha Well we had been knocking for about 4 1/2 hours when we came upon a house where the McDaniels live. Marci (the wife) answered the door, and her Husband Kevin came shortly after. I will leave out all the swear words, but the exchange went a little something like this. He very angrily said, "Look boys, my house is being foreclosed, and we don't need people like you coming around here." We got quiet and asked if there was anything he needed and he replied with an outstretched hand, "Give me your wallet" I replied that their wasn't much in it and he said "Well that's what we need!" and slammed the door.

I walked off that door step with a pit in my stomach, followed by a prompting. About half way down the walk, I stopped, pulled out my wallet and asked Elder Cornelison for a card. We pulled out the $11 dollars we had and we wrote on the note, "It isn't much, but it's all we have." and put it on the porch. Before we could leave, Kevin came out and said (again leaving out the swearing) "What are you doing?!" We replied that we left something on his porch. He looked down and said "Are you kidding me?!" We quietly said "We didn't mean to offend you. We just wanted to help in any way we could, and this is all we had." I was sure we were going to get beat up, but he leaned up against a post, not sure whether to swear or cry. We talked for a little bit, laughed at a Michigan shaped puddle in his yard, and got to know his situation. He calmed down, and invited us into his garage out of the rain. We talked more about his spiritual life, and his wife came out mentioning that she wants to get back into church and was looking for a place to go. Eventually they invited us in and we were able to teach about the enabling power of Christ's atonement in helping us overcome these struggles. They were all smiles when we left. As I shook Kevin's hand, I said "See ya Brother." He seemed very taken back by what I had called him, and with a look of surprise, love and gratitude said, "yea. We will see ya Brother." Very special moment. I don't think I felt the cold on the way home. 

It's moments like that that make the mission worth it. It's not about the numbers, as wonderful as those are. It's all about lifting the hands that hang down and cheering up the downtrodden. I have faith that things will go well with them :) Just a huge testimony builder to me that these people are out there waiting for us. They truly are out there! 

Its been a good week. I learned a lot this morning in studies about what I need to do more. I am thankful I have as much time as I do left to give all I can. 

Elder Wheat

Knocking in the rain!! Great day to wear gray pants!

Friday, October 30, 2015

10/26/15


The weeks seriously are starting to blend together, and I have no idea what is going on. We are excited about what is going on. I think we are coming close to the point where things start falling into place for us. We have gotten a few really solid referrals and potentials, and will be seeing things pick up this week! This reminds me a lot of Houghton Lake and Grand Rapids. These people are out there. We are doing all the right things, but just haven't been doing it long enough yet. 

It was a pretty solid week. Like I said, I am not sure where the time went, but things are picking up. I will say, however, that we had one of the most unusual endings to a lesson of my life. We were teaching a beautiful young family about the restoration and they just got it. Everything about it sounded wonderful to them. It was probably the smoothest first lesson I have had in a long time. It was taught to their needs and the spirit was there. We challenged them to be baptized if they came to know this was true, and they accepted. We are getting so excited. We invite them to read so that they can know if its true, and they said......... No. "I think I am set in my Roman Catholic faith." I had no clue what to say... I have never had anyone say yes to baptism and no to the Book of Mormon before... Safe to say things didn't turn out with that like I hoped, BUT after that lesson I pretty much knew its only up from here on out. Immediately after that lesson, we found 3 super cool potentials, so it all works out. 

I am thankful to be here in Grand Valley. Its probably my toughest area so far, and has really tested my faith, especially since I have been so blessed to teach as much as I have. I think part of the process in this area is to see if we will be faithful when its hard. The Lord knows I can be faithful to him when we are teaching tons of people, but will I be faithful when rejection becomes the norm, and going home is in the near future. I love this opportunity. I promised the Lord my heart when I came out, and it is His forever. Whether in prosperous times or in shame, I will do what he wants me to do. I have served as well as I know how until now, and these next few months will be my finest offering. Oh how I love him. How I wish I was more like him. I witness of his love and mercy. He is truly so quick to forgive. I am so grateful to him for all that I know and have. 

Elder Wheat


Stole Elder Cornelisons camera... Heck yes!




 Gotta love the fall!!!




10/19/15

This work is so real... Can I just tell you? So nothing crazy happened this week, except I found my fire again :) I have been struggling as of late with the work and have been in a crazy rut. To make things worse, one of my favorite converts told me that they have decided to go back to their old church. The discouragement between so many converts going less active and the area not picking up as fast as we were hoping made me just about lose it. I asked Elder Cornelison to give me a blessing, and I haven't been able to stop smiling since. We are being so blessed in our finding, and we are looking to have an awesome week this week! Sorry for the short email, but I hope you all know how much I love you!! I know that God lives and that he is guiding me in his service. I love him so much!!!
Elder Wheat


Selfie of the week!!!

10/12/15

Update on the work: Mike is progressing really well actually. He is our only investigator right now, but he still came to church!! The ward is really excited, because this is the first time an investigator has been at church from this area in over 6 months... We are being very blessed here!!

You know... I have to say that it has been a tough week. I have been so blessed almost my whole mission to do tons of teaching of incredible people, and its been a little surprising that things haven't picked up as fast as I hoped they would. We door knock all day it seems, but all is well. I am learning to be patient in the Lords time. I think the hardest part about it is what Satan can do to you during the dry spells of life. He is constantly broadcasting that the lack of success is your fault. You begin to recognize every weakness you have and every time you fall short. At times it got very overwhelming and became difficult to feel the spirit.
Yesterday was probably the hardest, but I learned an important lesson. It is impossible to feel the spirit when you are in a hurry. I find myself rushing conversations, lessons, doorsteps, pretty much  everything lately, probably due to the fact that I don't have a ton of time left. I was reading through some old journals from my mission, and a quote from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young came to mind. As they were on the Zion's Camp march, the Prophet came in 3 times and repeated, "Brigham, don't be in a hurry." The difference between enduring to the end and enjoying to the end is choosing to find joy in the journey, and not just in the destination. Give of your time and attention. Don't rush through home teaching with a "Just get it done" attitude, because if you do, you will miss the real purpose and blessing. The Elder's quorum president would be happy, but we and the families we teach will be left unblessed and unchanged. The same is true for a millions other worthy endeavors we engage in. Everyday is filled with opportunities to feel the spirit with somebody, but these are missed if we are to involved in our own agenda, no matter how worthy that is. Time spent is an ultimate act of love, because it is the one gift that we can't get back. Enjoy where you are at right now :) Life is good right now. No matter whether it's the best day or the worst day of your life. Everything we experience, for better or for worse, brings us closer to the Savior if we treat them right. The easiest way to turn a day around is to say a prayer of gratitude, and go make someone feel awesome. You can never be upset when you are genuinely in the service of another.
Hope you all have a great week!!
Elder Wheat

10/5/15

3 Nephi 17:2-5 describes perfectly how I felt to finish off conference yesterday. All i can say is I left this weekend with a renewed resolve to serve the Savior for the rest of my life. Oh how I love him. An email setting like this isn't the place to describe all I felt and learned, but I know that this church is true. So many prayers answered this weekend.

I must be getting either tired or lazy during emailing, but I don't have a ton to write about this week. The work is picking up very well and we are very optimistic about the week. Elder Cornelison put his first investigator on baptismal date this week and I was so proud! haha We were teaching a lesson which was going very well. We had talked about him taking the lead in that invitation, and he looked over at me at the end with a scared look on his face and said, "Do I invited him?" I gave him the go ahead. "Mike, will you be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God?" "Sure!" Came the response. What a champ. We were so excited!! 

The week went well. I am loving the feeling to just be able to work like crazy. That really is all i want to do. I find myself getting sad when I have to come in at night. During conference, I had a very sacred experience in priesthood meeting. Sometimes, you take being a missionary for granted. It becomes all you know and you don't think about it to much. Well, the closing song was "We will bring the world his truth." During the song, I took off my name tag and studied it. 5 years ago, I made myself a missionary name tag and hung it in my house as a reminder of where I wanted to be. Seeing the words "Elder Wheat" became a great motivation throughout High School for me. Through all the ups and downs of teenage life, the idea of one day being worthy to serve a mission kept me going. Immediately memories of what it took to get me here came flooding in my mind. All the tears shed and prayers said, pleading with God to be able to serve... I love my mission. I am so grateful to God for allowing me to be "Elder Wheat", a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love that man with all my soul. 

Elder Wheat

My MTC brothers I got to see today! We have come a long way!

Monday, September 28, 2015

I have a new son!! 9/28/15

So, once again, my time is way short, but I need to tell you about my son!! His name is Elder Clay Cornelison. He is 18 from Twin Falls Idaho and is about 6'4 250. He is HUGE!! He was a stud Pitcher in High School and unfortunately doesn't like BYU in favor of USC. We have a little rivalry going. I have been so blessed with great companions. The man works like a horse and I am loving every second. Its going to be a great couple transfers.
As far as the week goes, all I did was walk and knock haha We have seen a good balance from the very friendly to the incredibly anti and everything in between. Gotta love serving in the Ant Capital of the world!! We found our first investigator named Mike yesterday who is a pretty cool story. He is 77 and when I met him, I didn't feel like he was all there. He invited us back, and I figured it was worth a shot. At the very least, it would be good practice for Elder Cornelison to teach. Well I was wrong. He not only understood what he taught, but was very emotional with the idea that he could be with his family forever. He asked "Who told you to come here?" We said God, and he was amazed by that. He kept saying, "You mean no one but the Lord sent you here?" I am pretty excited about him!! It is going to be a great week here in Grand Rapids!! Good to be back in my 2nd of 5 Michigan homes.
Elder Wheat




 Elder Cornelison

Sunday, September 27, 2015

BEST. WEEK. EVER. 9/21/15

Well... this week felt like a year.. I AM SO TIRED!!!! It doesn't help with everything going on with transfers this week. 

I recieved my transfer call on Friday and it began with, "Elder Wheat, we have a lot of responsibilities we are going to give you. We are going to release you as a zone leader, and will be transferring you to Grand Valley 2 (The neighboring ward to Grand Rapids where I served last year.) You going to be the District Leader and will be white washing with a new missionary. " I will go where you want me to go President. I must say that I am very anxious to see what is going to happen. I am extremely nervous, but I am excited to train again. The Lord will provide!! 

We sure went out of TC with a bang. Since my last email, we had 3 baptisms, and the branch is so excited!!! I need to keep my email short, but I want to finish the story of Jennifer. We found Jennifer my first Saturday in the area, and she was baptized on my last Saturday in the area. Such a crazy experience. She wanted to be baptized in Lake Michigan (Check that off the mission bucket list), but the issue was there was a 90% chance of rain on Saturday. We prayed very hard for good weather, and as you will see by the pictures, come baptism time, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was however, very windy and the water was very choppy and very cold. Jennifer's #1 fear is being drowned, so you can imagine how anxious she must have been. She almost didn't go on the dock, and was very close to not going in the water. Maddi was baptized first, and I stood in the water waiting for Jennifer. I have never seen anyone so scared. She asked me to baptize her, and every day for a week she told me, "I am just going to trust you and God that you won't drop me." We stood in the water for about a minute or so, getting tossed around by the waves, trying to find a footing on the rocky bottom, and she said over and over, "I can't do this." and with terror in her face, "Please don't make me do this." We kept telling her over and over that she could. We finally calmed her down enough to say the prayer, but again she looked at me and said "I don't want to do this," and I looked her in the eye and said, "Yes you can." Then... the funny part. I thought she said go, but she actually said no... So I went ahead and baptized her...

She came out with the most joyous look I have ever seen her have, and exclaimed, "You didn't drown me!!!!" She literally ran down the dock to the shore, where we gathered in a circle around Jennifer and Maddi and sang "All Creatures of our God and King. It was such a sacred experience to sing "Alleluia" to the Most High God after an experience like that. 

One last thought I wanted to share. As Elder Coziar was walking down from the dock, Sister Alper, and old friend of Jennifer's and her fellowshipper, told him, "Only Elder Wheat could have done this." As I read that in the journal entry he wrote me to end our companionship, I couldn't help but cry. You are always told that you are sent to your missions to find someone only you can touch, but it is very overwhelming and emotional when you find out that it's true. It's crazy how fast you become family with those in your mission, especially those we teach. When we said good bye to Jennifer, she said a piece of her heart will be missing. I must say I am thankful that she loaned me a portion of hers with me, because I feel I left mine in Traverse City. I was only there for 3 months, but it has very quickly become home. I will miss that area.. the Galla's and Elder Coziar especially, but I feel the Lord has something planned for me in Grand Rapids. It hurts so bad to leave, but I am thankful with all my heart that the Lord let me go..

With love

Elder Wheat

Left to right: Logan (baptized Maddi), Elder Coziar, Me, Meghan, Jennifer, Maddi

In the water (May be the coolest picture of my mission)

Walking off the dock

Erika Woodcox's baptism

9/12/15


So this email will likely be very short, considering its only been about 4 days since I wrote my last one, but I will give a preview of my next one!! 

The work is going great. There have been a lot of distractions lately, but I am doing all that I can to stay focused. So to give you an insight into my life this upcoming week, here you go:

Sunday: Baptism of Erika Woodcox
Monday: Drive to Kalamazoo (Bottom of State) for a Mission Leadership Conference with Wilford Anderson of the quorom of the 70. 
Tuesday: Half Mission Training with Elder Anderson in Mt Pleasant (Middle of the State). (I will be singing a solo at that one... way nervous) 
Friday: Transfer Calls. My fate is up in the air.
Saturday: Jennifer's baptism

Yea... I am really looking forward to this week... 

Speaking of Jennifer, this week has been another tumultuous one for her. She found out that she has a life threatening health condition, and everything is up in the air. She texted us on Wednesday saying she didn't feel worthy to be baptized, because of all that is happening and all that she doesn't know. We had a very intense meeting with her last night, but it was probably one of the most powerful. We talked about her concerns and doubts for awhile, and she asked. "What do you suggest I do?" We both bore our testimonies to her of how ready she is. That even if she doesn't know this with her head yet, she knows it with her heart. Everything went quiet for about a minute, and she whispered with all the faith she could, "Ok." I can't describe how I feel about this investigator.. I cannot write her story in an email, but I hope to be able to tell it to you in person someday, so you can truly feel the spirit of her conversion process. Love you all. Please keep her in your prayers for a full recovery.

Elder Wheat

Half my mission posterity! Such studs!!

The view from my balcony

9/7/15


We had a miracle this week.


Jennifer is sooooooooo close. We had a lesson with her on Tuesday, and baptism came up. She mentioned she wanted to, and so we asked "why?" She responded, "I feel like I need too." She has had a difficult time recognizing the spirit because she analyzes everything, and so we told her, "That is how we know you have gotten an answer. After everything you have been through these last few months, you still want this. That is how you know." She said, "Ok. What do I have to do?" Things continue to struggle for her. She just found out she has a major medical scare, and yesterday, she had a huge hurdle to again jump over. She had to leave church early yesterday, (even though she REALLY didn't want to) and they had a presentation about mormonism. It was actually very good presentation, and she was texting us through the whole thing, but then the end came. They had a Q&A afterwards, and questions were asked like, "How do they know Joseph Smith wasn't insane when he had those visions?" and "Why do they think polygamy is ok?" Jennifer was brave enough to say she went to church with us, and everyone turned on her saying "I thought you were smart!" and "I just lost a lot of respect for you." As if that wasn't bad enough, her old Catholic priest came in and ambushed her asking why she was joining a cult... Amazingly she is still hanging on. 

Even with all this she is holding true. She said to us earlier in the week "I am incredibly thankful that God brought both of you into our lives!! This has been one of the best summers that we have ever had as a family. Thank you for being so instrumental in making it happen." She understandably becomes very overwhelmed at times, and asked "If this is so true, why is all of this happening, just as I am finding the missing piece?" We responded, "We don't know why all of these things are happening specifically, but we do know that everything of value is difficult to obtain. There is no easy way to find truth just like there is no easy way to find treasure. It breaks our hearts to see you go through all this, but yesterday you told us this was the best summer you have ever had, and its no coincidence that its been the hardest." The miracle of all of it is she responded "You're right! I will focus on the good and give myself credit for what I do know." One more thing I will add is she saw a picture of the temple, and it immediately made her take a deep breath and relax. SO COOL! Please please please keep her in your prayers. The one hold up now is a deathly fear of water, and she is being so incredibly valiant to get this far. Her family is amazing...

The work also continues to go well. We are seeing a lot more opposition than we are used to. We had one lady slam, (and I mean SLAM) the door on us 4 times in one approach.. It was actually kind of funny. All I know is, It felt great to be at church and get to bear my testimony in a safe place. All of this opposition however just means we are finding more awesome people. We hopefully have 3 baptisms this month, and we found an AWESOME girl named Brandi who we put on date for October 24. She lives literally next door to the church and loves it already from the outside looking in.  Good things are happening. If there is anyone reading this that doesn't already know, I believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. He is my Healer and My Leader. He is my Advocate and My Friend. There is no other way to eternal salvation and therefore happiness but through him. How do I know these things? I read the Book of Mormon and I prayed about it. I owe him my life. He has lifted me from every sin I have and continue to fall into. He carries me in my lonliness. He spots me when the weight becomes to heavy. I love him with all my heart. It kills me that I continue to fall short, but I rejoice in his forever extended amazing grace.

Elder Wheat

Pictures from last week! Spent the week in the UP with The Soo Elders!!

Lake Michigan!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

8/31/15


Crazy week, mostly because we weren't actually in Traverse City until Friday. We spent the week as far North as we can go in the mission. HEY MOM!! I SAW CANADA!!!!! (I forgot my camera so pictures will have to come next week.) Good work was done even without being here. Jennifer is being very blessed, but still needs extra prayers as she tries to continue in her progression. Erikaƛ baptism had to be pushed back a week, but its still on :) 

I have been having a lot of sleepless nights lately, and last night was yet another. I got out of bed and read in my old journals from Lansing for about an hour or so. I don know if any of you remember my emails from then, but it was a very difficult time for me. For about 5 months, I was going through very severe doubts, among other trials, that led to intense exhaustion. As I read about what was going on in those times, I was filled with joy to see how far I have come... Near the beginning of that time of trial, I wrote: 

¨A mission, like life, is a marathon, and not a sprint. Some miles feel better than others. This counsel from my dad is how I felt reading my old journals tonight. So many times, I have made promises, pledges, and covenants with myself and with the Lord to never sin again, or to wear out my life in his service. I can remember the fire I had when I wrote those words, but very quickly does the intensity dim. While I still have the desire to do those things, the intensity is not the same. I feel the Lord is trying to teach me to pace myself. I still find myself trying to force spiritual things, what that has never been a fruit of the spirit. Too often I look to the past, longing for who I was and what I felt yesterday, not realizing the future events still in store if I endure it well. The day Peter became the great apostle is when he stopped being so impetuous and impulsive, and frankly, I think the Lord is trying to beat that out of me.¨

What followed were months of entries documenting intense highs and lows, as the Lord molded me into something I never thought I could become. I remember the feelings of hopelessness. Feeling like I would never regain my testimony, and that I would be for the rest of my life, at best, unsure. As I look back and realize all that has been done, I am in awe at the workmanship of his hands. The truths I always believed were persecuted, questioned, doubted, and tested, until they have become truths that I now know. Its funny how, in recolection, the time I am most thankful to, has been my most difficult. So much has changed in these last short months, but I am eternally indebted to a divine and compassionate physician who loved me enough to keep on cutting, no matter the pain it brought me.

The greatest struggle of my mission it seems is to not be able to adequately say or write the innermost feelings of my heart. I am just truly in awe at all the Lord has done for me throughout my life, and all he continues to do as he continues to mold me in his image.

Elder Wheat

8/24/15

Every week, when I sit down to write this email.... I feel like my mind goes blank... The days of the previous week run together like a blur, and I can seem to remember a single thing that happened. Well... lets see what I can update all of you on...

Its going to be a miracle if the Traverse City area hangs on (and it will. The Lord wouldn't let it turn out otherwise) because we are never here. I have been away from Elder Coziar everyday but Saturday, and this week we will be out of Traverse City until Friday, because we are blitzing the Cheboygan and Sault Ste. Marie areas. It should be a lot of fun. Most of my time is spent with new missionaries, which makes me really hope I train again. 

I spent Tuesday in Gaylord, and Wednesday and Thursday in Manistee, which are about a half a state apart haha. Manistee is heaven. Sometimes I feel like I am on vacation rather than doing missionary work, because of the views I get when I am personal contacting. We are having great fun in all we do, which is how missionary work ought to be.

The lesson I learned this week came from my Trade offs with the Assistants. I made a very big mistake. On Tuesday, while I was on trade offs, they had a very bad lesson with Jennifer. They tried teaching as best they could, but things got a little pushy about baptism and she felt ambushed. She was very upset with us over the next few days, and on Friday I saw her on Trade offs and tried to do some damage control, and I totally through Elder Coziar and the missionary who was here under the bus, and made them sound like they were young and inexperience, and didn't know what they were doing, which is very untrue.

The lesson ended up going very well, and even though trials continue to pour out over Jennifer, she is doing very well. Turns out, that lesson was for the best. Over the last few days, she keeps hearing songs about water, and she wrote to us, ¨Tuesday had to happen because I never would even be entertaining baptism when I hear these songs,  but I am.  Thank you for pushing me out of my comfortable little box and showing me that it is safe to have disagreements.   As difficult as Tuesday was for the both of us, it was actually perfect!  I apologize if I treated you poorly or said anything mean to you. Sometimes when we are breaking down a wall we get caught in the falling pieces but in the end, the view is well worth the turmoil.¨ Such a miracle.

That being said, I was very sorely, but lovingly chastised afterwards by the AP for what I did. I must say that the guilty taketh the truth to be hard. His words cut me to the center. My first inclination was to make an excuse or apologize so profusely that I would make my myself look like a victim, but instead a voice kept saying, ¨Be still and listen. This is for your good.¨ After the event, I started to feel angry with myself that I could let my self make such a mistake. ¨You have been out 19 months. You know better. You are immature and unfit. How could you do something like this.¨ Even these thoughts however were short and were pushed aside. Even though that experience hurt me, what hurt more was that I failed the other missionaries involved. I immediately made restitution with both missionaries and with Jennifer, and all worked out for the best. The purpose of the chastisement is to build us up, not break us down. Had he not brought this up, I would have a major flaw in my character left unchecked. The pruning we undergo is worth the pain when we realize the fruit that comes as a result. By the end of the night, all I could think of was, ¨Thank you Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down." Chastening is essential to exaltation, and I am thankful God that God has chastened me enough to learn this. 

The work rolls on. We should have a baptism in 2 weeks and we are way excited!! Loving my mission. I hope I can give more with each day.

Elder Wheat

Where I get to PC

Monday, August 17, 2015

My New Sister 3/17/15

So my time is very short this week, but I want to write about my newest sister Janell :) 

On Saturday, Elder Coziar and I took a 3 hour drive down to Lansing which was worth every second. There was seriously a glow about her as she was all dressed in white ready to be baptized. When she came up out of the water, she put her hands over her face and cried saying "That was awesome..." and as she walked out of the font, she repeated those words 3 times. She sat about two seats over from me and could not stop smiling. I glanced over at her and she looked over at me, and said "I feel so good!" She got up to bear her testimony and just about cried through the whole thing as she told her story.

The last year of her life has been very difficult for her. She found a wonderful church home, but something was still mission. Something told her to look up the Book of Mormon, so she did. I guess we didn't come fast enough the first time because she requested herself twice haha. She said our first lesson changed everything. I have never had an investigator understand things as fast as her. We invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and she says "I mean I'll do it, but I already know it's true... Is that weird? I just get this feeling about it..." We just about swallowed our ties, but it didn't stop there. She asked about Mormon culture and found she fit right in, especially the Disney movie part haha She asked how the missionary thing worked, and we explained that women go on missions at 19. She replied, "You mean I have to wait a whole year???" After her baptism. The first thing she told me was that she was saving up to go on a mission, and that she wants to be married in the Indianapolis temple. Elder Alley and I are already making road trip plans to come back for her going through the Temple. 

No event has ever brought me such joy as this. She alone has made my 2 years worth it, and that is to say nothing about 18 months worth of life changing experiences. There is nothing like a mission. Praise to my God!!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!



Janell :) 

How big was the TC storm? It uprooted this tree
The Elders of Israel

The Manistee lighthouse

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

8/10/15

So this week I am recommitting myself to writing a good letter, and I pray the Lord will help me do so.

This is the happiest I have ever been on my mission. The area is absolutely on fire and we are working harder than we ever have on our missions. There is nothing on this earth that is more satisfying that serving the Lord with all diligence of soul. That being said, I am being stretched all the time, and the joy does not come without great anxiety.

Jennifer is continuing to fight and struggle. She has had 5 close friends pass away this week, and each death has come immediately following a spiritual break through. After she texted us to notify us of the last one, we immediately went to visit her. Obviously her immediate question was "Why is all of this happening?" You know... This right here is the most amazing thing about what we do as missionaries. That people who are far our senior in years turn to 20 year olds like us for these kinds of questions, and it is a testimony to the reality of our call that we have the spirit to answer these kinds of concerns. We assured her that God is doing everything he can to comfort her in these times, and she bluntly responded, "That's a crap answer." What immediately came out was the response "No its not. It is no coincidence that God sent us to you right before these tragedies. Could you imagine going through this without somewhere to turn for spiritual support. These deaths are not because God is mad at you or is trying to punish you, you are someone innocent who was caught in the crossfire. But God truly is doing all that is possible to comfort you." It was a super intense experience. I don't think I have ever been so bold with someone as I was with her. May heaven help her. I love all my investigators, but her and her family are special to me. I don't know how she is hanging on, but to see her continue to progress is a miracle in every way. 

SImon Shaub was baptized on Saturday, which was such a sweet experience. I have loved teaching him, and it has been special to watch him grow. The spirit was very strong at the baptism, as it always is. He went immediately from the baptism into an interview with President Ensign for the priesthood, and will be going to the temple on August 22. Such a stud!!!

Final story of the week. I got a message from one of my favorite investigators in Lansing named Janell, asking for a favor. I said "Yea of course!! Whats up?" She nonchalantly responded, "Will you speak at my baptism? Its this Saturday." I just about had a heart attack... I am so flipping excited I can hardly stand it. I will write more of her story next week, but she is one of the biggest tender mercies of my mission. I got to talk to Elder Alley on the phone yesterday, and he told me about all the things that she is doing. The YSA ward soaked her in and took her to the Indy Temple open house, and she is very involved with church activities. To cap it all, he told me that she bore her testimony to them in a lesson, and she simply said, "I know the Gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon and the commandments are true." They asked why the gospel is so important to her, and she responded, "So I can raise my family in it."

I feel like Ammon in times like this. My joy almost exceeds my strength, and all I can think to do is sing "Hallelujah! Praise to the Lord!!" I love my mission with all my heart. I have 6 months to go, and I will not stop or let up until the Lord shall say "It is done." I love it because its hard. Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is the connection in the scriptures between glory and suffering. The purpose of suffering is not really to punish us, but to change us and to refine us. It's not necessarily the pain that purifies us, but pain is a natural consequence of cutting and growing. If life is hard, good. That's how is supposed to be. The road to heaven is hard because its up hill, but I must say that the higher I climb, the more I feel the incredible warmth that radiates from the Son. 

Love you all!!

Elder Wheat



8/3/15

I have no time this week to write, but I just want you all to know that we are being blessed beyond belief here in Traverse City. The work is great, my companion is great, and the work is moving forward!!!

Just wanted to send a picture of a storm that came through yesterday. It left the city looking like a war zone. Trees everywhere. It was unreal!! Just kept singing "How Great Thou Art" the whole time.


Photo cred to Elder Allred

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The 4th Watch God 7/27/15

I am happy to say that this is the hardest I have ever worked on my mission, and we see miracle after miracle. The week is honestly a huge blur from Sunday to about Thursday, though we had a ton of fun going up to the Upper Peninsula and working up there for a day. The Abend girls were baptized on Saturday, and they were so excited!! That family quickly became a favorite for me. Christ was not kidding when he said we should all become as little children. The sweetest things in the world!!! 

I have heard before that God often comes in the 4th watch, when the night is far spent and the storm is long lasting. That when all hope it appears is lost, the hope comes and delivers. That has been the theme of this week.

On Friday we had been knocking for about 3 hours straight and it became very discouraging actually. There were quite a few people who were either very rude or very afraid, and just about everyone was very uninterested. There were a few times where I had to pray for strength to continue in faith, and I am thankful that the Lord blessed me. We finished the streets we were knocking, and we only had about 15 minutes left until dinner, so we started weighing our options. We were about to head home a little early and make some calls, but then we thought, "No, there is somewhere we can go for 15 minutes." We started walking down the street again and worked our way towards a man and his family sitting on their back porch. The man saw us, rose to meet us, and invited us to sit down with him. 

We talked for a minute, and learned that his cousin is a member of the local branch. He asked if we had a scripture we wanted to share, then he added softly, "You know, your timing is wonderful. I don't know if you have seen the headline today, but that is my son." There son had just been charged with murder. With a scripture suddenly coming to mind, we introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and began to teach him about Alma the Elder praying for Alma the younger and how the prayers of righteous fathers are always heard and answered. As he prayed, it reminded me of the Saviors submission when he said, "thy will be done." I have not seen so great faith, no not in Israel. He and his family would like to know more, and said their door is always open. The feelings I had there were very tender and close to the surface. I hope good things come of that family. 

The last story I share will be about Jennifer. She just might be the death of me, but I LOVE her and her family. We have been on a roller coaster with her that I have been familiar with. She did not like Church at all (very unfamiliar). She feels peace when we meet with her and over the next day or so, until she goes to work. Then she is blasted with doubts and questions that overwhelm her. We had a breakthrough lesson where she learned by the spirit that instead of writing down her questions when we leave, she should write the things that she learned. That worked well, but the doubts kept coming. She was the purpose of our car fast on Saturday, that she would feel peace, but she came to the baptism on Saturday, and felt overwhelmed again. She texted us that night with another question, followed by "I don't think I am on the right path any more." Obviously sent us into worry mode, but that night she went to a ward party. We weren't allowed to go, but she found her 2 fellowshippers, and watched "Meet the Mormons. To make a long story short, she loved the movie (Bawled during the missionary part btw) and said, "If I can get passed the name and focus on the faith, it seems like this is the right path for me. I need to stop listening to my friends and just do what is right for me." 

We asked why she felt that way, and she said "the sense of peace that I have gets greater and that's what I want." Car fast. Answered. She came to church even though it made her late for work, and really liked it this time. Things are looking up with her. I don't think the stars have ever aligned quite like this for an investigator. God is obviously very mindful of her. 

Today, I was pondering over the last 18 months, and became very overwhelmed at all the extraordinary miracles I have seen in the lives of people I have taught. I honestly wonder why these things happen to me when there are missionaries far more faithful who see far less success. I thank God for the blessings I have seen and earnestly pray to be worthy enough to see more.

Elder Wheat
The Abends baptism

Mackinaw Bridge

View from said Bridge



7/20/15

The more you give in to your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you. The more we give, the more blessed and therefore the more indebted we become. My mission has created a strange relationship between God and I. I have become very aware of the distance between his offering and my own. Between his perfection and my fallen state. I stand in awesome wonder at his goodness and grace and in regretful recognition at my mistakes and short comings. I am very aware of the immense distance between He and I, but I have never felt closer to him in my life. I have been taught through his spirit that he is my Father, and that though my shortcomings make me feel forever distant, His amazing grace makes me feel intimately acquainted with him as a son to his father. 

This truth has been very apparent in my week. I often became distracted by things that have nothing to do with my calling, yet he blessed us so abundantly. It has been 3 weeks since my initial prayers that we would find people who would meet with us consistently, and we have been blessed with an incredible teaching pool. We have a baptism this weekend of a 9 year old girl named Hannah and her 8 year old sister Katie, the daughters of a less active family whom I have come to love! They are the sweetest things in the world. In 2 weeks, we should be having the baptism of Simon Shaub, a 17 year old who is a ton of fun. My story for the week comes from Jennifer, our miracle find from a few weeks ago. 

Jennifer will probably be the death of me. Whenever we are teaching her, she feels at peace, but as soon as we leave, doubt fills her mind and tears her apart, until we meet again and are able to answer her concerns, and the peace returns. Last time we met with her, we tried teaching the Plan of Salvation, and it was quite frankly awful. She did not understand the pre earth life and did not believe it, and the lesson just felt bad. We stopped and pretty much just said "This doesn't feel right. What is going on?" She opened up with a ton of questions, and was amazed at the answers. She felt so good about it she said, "Do you think I could have been born mormon and just didn't know it? I feel like I am a lot more Mormon than Catholic." We responded, "Do you want to know why all of this sounds so familiar?" We pointed to the picture of the Pre Earth Life and said "It's because you have been taught it before." We re taught that portion and she said, "Oh! That makes sense." She know's this is the right path, but again, when we leave, the doubts come back. She came to church, and it was so perfect for her, but she left because she was overwhelmed at how "different" it was. She texted us asking for help and said, "if this is right, I shouldn't feel so confused, correct?" 

I learned an interesting lesson from this. It is human nature to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed at things that are unfamiliar. For example, the apostles were "terrified" when the Resurrected Lord appeared unto them, because it was so unfamiliar. We should not take that kind of fear for our answer, especially when we have felt peace about it before. If we want to find the truth, think of the times you felt that peace and assurance, and then focus on that. If we entertain our doubts, they will begin entertaining us. Focus on the peace, and there we will find the truth. We explained this too her, reminding her what she feels when she is with us, and she replied, "I know, that is what I am trying to hold on to is that peace." 

Please keep her in your prayers. 

I am excited for another week. They keep flying by and do not look like they are slowing down. I get to go to the Upper Peninsula tonight to blitz the Sault (Pronounced "Soo") Ste. Marie area, and I am PUMPED! I pray that my love for the Lord and his work can be shown through my actions. Love you all!!

Elder Wheat

The view from a street we knocked recently overlooking Grand Traverse Bay