Monday, February 23, 2015

10 Reasons Why I Love My Mission 2/23/15

Without what happened this weekend, my mission still has been the greatest and most transformational experience of my life, but after this weekend, I want to share 10 reasons from this weekend alone that have made me love my mission even more!

1,2,3,4: Amber, Oriana, Destinee, and Hope Cowart: This family lives in Houghton Lake, and just might be one of my favorite families (yes I know I say that about every family, but its true). When Elder Johnson and I knocked on their door, Amber felt prompted to let us in. Over the next few months, it was remarkable to watch Amber change. How she would describe the Holy Ghost as she read, prayed, and attended church was nothing short of sacred to me. We had some of the most powerful lessons with her, however she could not get baptized yet because she smoked and had a live in boy friend. She dropped cigarettes as soon as she was taught the word of wisdom, and as she was praying to know what to do to help her boyfriend, they ended up splitting up. She said it wasn't the answer she wanted, but that it works for her. She has undergone incredible changes leading up to this moment. She has turned away from her horrible past and has chosen to turn to Christ. I wish I could have been there for their baptism, but I can't wait to hear from Elder Johnson how it went. They are family to me. 

5. Donna Bryant: Donna was a name we had in our area book in Houghton Lake, a former refferal from that Elder Campbell and I felt prompted to check on when I got to the area. We were unable to contact her, but a few months later refferal secratary at the mission office asked us to go check on her again, and we finally contacted her at Taco Bell of all places. She was a golden investigator if I have ever seen one. She investigated the church in Utah, and when she moved here she felt like something was missing. She very quickly got along with everyone in the branch and will play a BIG role in its future. She is one of the most elect I have every taught. There was a special connection with her. There was a special spirit in her home and her and her husband looked familiar as if I knew them before I came to earth. It sounds weird but its true. She was baptized on Saturday :)

6. Jenica Taylor: Jenica and her new husband Darrell were just married on Saturday before her baptism. She is the sweetest girl ever! I still don't know her very well and she had a much stronger connection with the missionary before me, but seeing the smile on her face after her baptism, it is hard not to love her. 

7, 8 and 9: The Esquivels. I have written quite a bit about them in past emails, but man do I love this family. Isaac (12) and Evan (9) are the sharpest kids I have ever met and are like my little brothers. I had a really cool moment this week with them. We were waiting for their baptism interview, I got to play a little basketball with them (they are really good by the way). As we played, I had a very special experience where I realized a crazy thing: I am their missionary. They just might remember playing basketball with Elder Wheat their whole lives, and if they don't, I know I will. A feeling of pure love filled my heart and I couldn't help but smile. I got to confirm both of them and Ixchel (the mom) asked me to baptize her. Raising her up out of the water and seeing the pure joy and gratitude in her eyes as she said "Thank you" was a moment I wont ever forget. 

10. Aubriena Richardson: This girl has made the greatest change of anyone I have ever seen in such a short time. She is a miracle in and of herself. I wish you could all just see the smile on her face all week. I got to baptize her too, and man was that cool. There is something about raising your right arm to the square and saying "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ." Side note. Anyways, yesterday at church, I overheard her and her fellow-shipper talking about serving a mission!! She also wants to go to BYU now haha Rise and Shout! Aubrieana is a special one to Elder Jeppson and I. She just means the world to us and it has been a privilege to see her change. 

That baptismal service in Lansing was incredible. Elder Jeppson and I were talking about it afterwards, and I was so sad, because I will never be able to talk about it with anyone and have them fully understand what was felt. The out pouring of the Holy Ghost on that night can only be understood by those that were there. There was a tangible love that emanated from that room. To watch one after the other step into the waters of baptism to make a covenant with their Father... my heart burns just thinking about it. It must be how it felt to stand at the waters of Mormon as witness the scene that happened there. So special. So sacred. That is all I can say. My goodness. I was in heaven in deed.

Elder Jeppson and I were talking about this on Saturday. The crazy thing about all this is how happy the missionary is in this process. Seeing this people in there conversion process has filled me with a joy that is unmistakable. I felt more joy on Saturday night than I felt when I have received forgiveness for my own sins. But why? The decision these people made does not benefit us in any worldly way. We get no money or glory. We receive nothing but joy for our labors, but that is enough for me. Oh how great is the joy of them that spend their days crying repentance, and oh how great is the joy of them that are fortunate enough to see there labor harvested. My joy is full. Such a rant as this must include my acknowledging that none of this happened because of me. Any missionary could have come and baptized these people, but I am forever grateful that God saw fit to let me witness and feel what I have. I apologize if what I have said has come off as boastful. Sometimes I get too excited, but is the only way I can express what I feel. If you want to understand, Preach the Gospel.

Elder Joe Wheat



Isaac, Evin, and Ixchel Esquivel

The most beautiful picture i have ever seen

One on one with a special witness 2/16/15

This week Elder Marcus B Nash of the Quorom of the 70 came to our mission, and man oh man was it a special experience. I was trained personally for 3 days by a special witness of Jesus Christ. So many of my prayers were answered in such a short space of time, it felt like my mind would unravel. My heart has been filled with joy as I have been in his company. One of the coolest moments of my life was when I was asked to be interviewed by him. Sitting one on one with a general authority. I don't know that I have ever had an experience like it. I cannot write specifics of what he taught or shared, for they are very special to me, but I thank God that He is mindful of Elder Joe Wheat. 

It has been a life changing weekend as you can imagine. I feel like I have been drinking out of a fire hose, but the fire in my heart won't be put out. Hallelujah...

Well the work continues to roll forward as we approach the Pentecost of February 21. I am so excited!

Aubrieanna is one of my favorite people in the world. She just gets it. She has been going through a lot lately and asked if we would give her a blessing. She gave the closing prayer at the end of the lesson and said, "Thank you for this opportunity to be with the missionaries again and for this study. I am thankful that they have the authority to do this." She is geared up and ready for baptism!

The Esquivels are my family in this ward. They have a very special place in my heart! The mom just quit smoking and is so excited. Elder Nash came to our ward this week and Ixschel (The mom) asked "Who is that" I explained who he was, and she said, "I knew he was important when he walked in. He just has this aura around him." I got to introduce them to him, and listening to him bear is testimony to them personally was such a special moment for even me. I can only imagine what it was like for them. I looked over at Elder Jeppson and said, "THIS IS SO COOL!!" haha A general authority personally bore his testimony to our investigator family. You just can't beat that. Hearing this family pray is incredible. If you ever want to feel the spirit, listen to an investigator pray. The sincerity and the love they have is unreal. Even little 9 year old Evan prays, and tells Heavenly Father how excited he is to be baptized... I wish that you could hear it.

If this email seems a bit off, its because I can't find the words to express my feelings this week. It is difficult to cram a whole weekends worth of incredible experiences into one email. All I can say is Glory to God. It is the only phrase that makes sense to me right now.

Love you all!

Elder Wheat

Elder Nash, President Jacobsen, and The Companionship

Monday, February 9, 2015


Let me tell you a story about a young man named Ethan Valentine. He is 18 years old from Ohio, but moved to Grand Rapids in September to attend school at Calvin College. He had been datubg a Mormon, and was taking the discussions pretty intensely, though his parents didn't approve. He had been challenged to be baptized, but was unsure of what to do. He had been seeking inspiration from the Lord, when on one sleepless night, he felt an overwhelming impression to go downstairs to read his Book of Mormon. He opened it to a random page in 3 Nephi, and as he read the Savior instruct the people of Nephi to be baptized, he realized what he needed to do. Soon after, he moved to Grand Rapids, where I got to teach him twice before I was transferred. He set a baptismal date a few weeks later, but missed it, because his parents were threatening to cut him off. He continued attending and just 2 weeks ago I got a call that he was being baptized in February 7 and he invited me to come. His parents were going to stop paying for school, his dad was writing him out of the will, and basically disowned him, but in his own words "I finally have a foundation that is built on God and I will not be shaken." 

If heaven is anything like how I felt at that baptism, it will be a good place. Getting to see so many members and missionaries I had previously served with and especially seeing him make that covenant was such a special experience! I also learned that Fred was back on for baptism on... (guess when) the 21st. The same day that all our investigators here and 5 of my investigators in Houghton Lake are getting baptized. I am really sad I wont be able to see all of them, but of all the problems to have, I actually like this one. It is so incredible to me what is happening!

I have been thinking a lot lately about Jesus Christ and what makes him so special, when the other day in studies, I feel like I got a glimpse into the Pre Mortal Life. Before we came to this earth we lived with God as spirits in one big family unit. Together we lived, learned, and progress like a child in there parents house. But here came a time that we had progressed as far as we could in his presence, so our Father told us about a wonderful plan in which we could become and receive all that he has. This plan included coming to Earth, receiving a body, and learning how to use it. It would be a time for us to lean his attributes and prepare ourselves so we could be prepared to receive all that he had in store for us. However as a part of our progression, that we would experience hardship and trials, and that all of us would fall short of his glory. His plan required a Savior would redeem this family from there falls. Perhaps he described what this savior would have to go through. He would have to be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3)" He would suffer "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind Alma 7:11)" and would suffer "even more than man could suffer except it be unto death (Mosiah 3:7)" in order to ransom us from sin and death so that we could all be together forever. After describing all of this he asked, "Whom shall I send? (Abraham 3:27)" 

I can imagine us nervously looking at each other in disbelief saying "Who on earth would want to go through something like that? Especially for those who would "esteem him to be a thing of naught (1 Nephi 19:9" and would scourge, smite and spit upon him?" But there was one who as our eldest brother, who loved us perfectly, and could not bear the thought of this family being separated who spoke up saying, "Father send me, and the glory be thine (Moses 4:2)" Jesus, our perfect example had volunteered to take upon him MY burdens, and the punishment for MY sins, so that I did not have to if I followed this plan. 

I cannot imagine what I must have felt in that moment for one I knew as my big brother. What awe must have filled my heart. How I must have wanted to be just like him, and what joy I must have felt knowing that because of what he had volunteered to do for me, I could be. I testify that THIS is the love that Jesus offers us. He offers us new beginnings and clean slates. He promises us joy that is eternal, and that never runs out. He "has called after you and is still calling after you" to come unto him and be changed. He did it because he knows you and loves you as family, and wants more than anything to be with you forever, coupled with eternal glory that we cannot comprehend. It is my prayer that we all heed his call, so that we might all experience that joyous reunion together, and drink of that love which is endless.

With Love and Joy
Elder Wheat

All the missionaries that came to support!!

Ethan and his member family

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Well... Lifes good. What else is new haha

We had a sweet week but this email is going to be more of a personal testimony. We had 3 companion exchanges this week, so I was only with Elder Jeppson for 2 full days this week, but it was an awesome experience. Our investigators our still great and on track to be baptized and I will be dancing like theres no tomorrow come February 21st!!

Aubrieanna was super open and receptive to the word of wisdom. She was describing her decision to be baptized to one of the APs and said, "I had some problems with authority, but I heard a little voice say, 'stop being so stubborn and do it!' so I am" Pretty sweet haha The Esquivels and Jenica are still on track and are excited as it gets!! 

I am better now. This week was another stuggle, but I am better. I now have the assurance that everything I have been through mentally and spiritually has worked together for my good. I have received a personal testimony of what it means to "Learn obedience by the things that we suffer." and how the enabling grace of Jesus Christ actually works more like the spotter on a bench press than a force who takes away our affliction. I have learned that feeling forsaken does not necessarily mean that God is far from you. I felt for a time that I was moving backwards, but now I realize that what I was moving closer to God than I ever have been. I realize now how much has changed, and how my desires have been transformed. I am grateful that I don't know everything, but that I know enough. I know that God lives and I know that he loves us. I know that we have a Savior whose grace is sufficient to transform us and lift us. If we ever feel that we have been forsaken or left all alone. If we feel at times like we are praying to our bed spread, we are not the only one. Some one a lot better than we all at times asked where his Father was. But it was because of that experience that Christ became more of who he was destined to be. We go through these things at times, but we have need of patience, and after we have done the will of God, we will receive the promise. I testify that those promises ALWAYS come. Oh how wonderful that is to me. 

Elder Wheat

This ones for you dad

I have the best companion!

The things I wake up to in Michigan. There was no snow on Saturday!!!!

Sickest Snuggie Ever