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


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

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Well brothers and sisters, another week has flown to I don't know where and life is good in Traverse City. I spent most of the week out of the area and a lot of time driving. We had a meeting in Lansing on Tuesday... about 6 hours of driving round Trip, and trade off with the Kalkaska elders and the Assistants. Safe to say I am exhausted. Life of a missionary I suppose. 

It was a very humbling thing for me to spend so much time out of the area.. because the area still saw so many miracles without me. Just goes to show that it is never the missionary that makes the work move forward. While I was in Kalkaska for a few days the following things happened in the area. They taught 5 lessons, picked up 3 new investigators, and talked to 60 people. As they were opening planning, they received a phone call from a member who said he has two daughters that need to get baptized and they are ready to go... Yes my friend... We can do that for you!! We also recieved word on Sunday that one of our 17 year old investigators named Simon received permission from his family to be baptized on August 1. One of the biggest tender mercies was this:

It all started on the Fourth of July, when I decided to change out of my dark pants into my grey pants before going out to work.. It sounds crazy but just wait. We went out to work and PC'd for a couple hours at Cherry Festival, which brings over 500,000 people every year. We couldn't even get anyone to slow down... We had a lesson there shine us, but then pick us back up, which meant we had to stick around for about an hour longer than we were planning. Not going to lie, it was very discouraging to be trying so hard and be treated so rudely. Nevertheless we kept on. The previous night, we had decided to check on a few members we didn't know, something we don't normally do, so we opened the Ward Roster, and picked out a few names. We fast from our cars on Saturdays here, so we were walking all day. We came to the street of the member, and saw that he lived about a mile down that road. We began walking when Elder Coziar asked, "Should we knock down to the house?" My first thought was no, but after passing a few houses, I stopped, and felt we needed to.

A few houses in, we met a couple of teenage girls watering their plants outside, to whom we said, "Hey! We are your missionaries! Are your parents home? They went inside and got their mom, who felt so bad that we were out in the heat wearing what we were that she invited us onto the porch for some water. We found out that she had just gotten home from a softball tournament downstate a few minutes before, (Hence why we needed to be at cherry festival so long), and we started making small talk with her. She continued to feel bad for us so she invited us to sit down at a table in the shade with one of her daughters named Maddie (16). Over the course of the conversation, she said that normally says no to missionaries very quickly, (She eventually realized it may be because the black pants and ties are intimidating. Weird.. But hence the grey pants) but she asked us what it is we do. That was the first of almost 3 hours worth of questions about our purpose and the gospel. One of the biggest miracles to Jennifer was that Maddie was so engaged in the conversation. She has major trust issues, and Jennifer was shocked she felt so comfortable around us. The only hold up Jennifer had about being baptized was being immersed in water. Huge miracle.

Their family was the subject of my fast on Sunday was for them and there progression. We waited and waited for them at church, but they never came. We got a text that said that she found something that bothered her on our Website and that she didn't want to meet any more.. I was heartbroken.. One of the saddest moments of my mission. On Thursday however, we got a text from her that said Maddie, of all people, talked her into meeting with us again. Elder Coziar had dinner with the whole family while I was gone, and answered her concerns, and she is back on track. I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear this news when I got back to the area. Halelujah!!!  Its going to be a slow process for them.. but things will work out. I am sure of it! 

It was an excellent week! Thank you all for all the birthday wishes and the love you have sent to me. I love you all so much! You will never know!! 

Elder Wheat 

Me and the Cake-in-a-mug I made myself

Grand Traverse bay on the way home from Kalkaska

Monday, July 6, 2015


First week in Traverse City.. So I guess the have something here called the National Cherry Festival and over 500,000 people come every year.. This is the place to be!! haha This was probably the most diligent week of my mission. I love Elder Coziar. He is probably the best missionary in the mission that no one has heard about, and I love how he is making me grow and stretch. 

We taught a lot and knocked a lot, but I don't have any stories I wanted to share, so I want to write about an experience I had last week. 

On my first day in Houghton Lake, we visited the Carothers and received a referral for there neighbors and best friends, named Carol and Walt. Neither were interested, but on a later trip, the Carothers asked if we could help them stack some wood for there wood burning stove. We went over every two weeks in the winter to help them out, and we developed a very strong relationship with them. On one of the visits, we offered to wash Carols dishes, which we didn't think much of, but she thought was "impressive as heck" that two 19 year olds would volunteer to do something like that. She began asking questions and her interest began to grow. A few weeks after I was transferred, I was told that she had started investigating the church, and last Saturday, she was baptized, and invited me to speak about that Holy Ghost.

What a sacred experience it was to get to talk to see my family in the Houghton Lake Branch. Carol was beaming from ear to ear the whole time, and the love and spirit which emanated from that room was almost tangible. I am so grateful for moments like these, which remind me why I serve. Her life has changed and her influence has helped change the Carothers. I love my mission!

Being transferred can be a very uncomfortable experience. You get so close to the people you serve with, and for those who don't know how transfers work, you are called on Friday, you pack up everything you own, and leave on Monday, to a knew area, a new companion, and a new life. I felt very uncomfortable and out of place my first few days, but I had an experience on Tuesday I need to share. We were teaching a lesson on the importance of the Book of Mormon, when something happened. As we taught and testified, I felt something enter my heart. I felt warm, I felt peace, I felt comfort, I felt... Home... Here. In a strangers house, in a place I have never been, with people I did not know... I felt home. One of the many things I love about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is the only thing about missionary work that doesn't change. Anywhere you are can be paradise as long as you have the spirit of the Lord with you. I am thankful that God cares infinitely more about my growth than he does about my comfort. He will not always remove trials and heart aches for the same reason a surgeon won't stop in the middle of operating. In a strange, round about way, pain is the only way we can be made truly whole and be truly healed. Of these things I know and testify of in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Wheat

Carol, Walt, the Carothers, and all the missionaries involved

Transferred to Traverse City 6/30/15

Family and Friends! 

As has been indicated, I have been transferred to Traverse City aka the Garden of Eden. This place is GORGEOUS!! My goodness. My new companion's name is Elder Kaden Coziar from Ogden UT. I am going to love this guy. He is super funny and laid back. He has been out a transfer less than me, and we are going to tear it up.

I do have to say, that getting transferred never gets easier. You feel just about as lost as a new greenie every time haha At the same time I love it, because its an opportunity to rely on the Lord for help and support. It was very hard to say goodbye in Lansing, especially to Elder Alley, Sarah, and Janell.Those three are family. Sarah is usually not an emotional person, but when we came to say goodbye, she wept like a child and said, "I knew this was going to happen and I didn't want to cry, but you guys have changed my life. You have no idea how much I am going to miss you Elder Wheat." I am amazed at what the Lord has done for her and her family. 

I don't have any time today to share about this week, though it has been one of the most unusual weeks of my mission. Thank goodness I keep a journal. They will be stories for another time. In the mean time, I just want you all to know I am happy, safe, and overwhelmed at all that God is doing for me. Love you all!!

Elder Wheat

View from where I am emailing

Janell and I

Sarah and the best kids on earth

Got to see my sons at Transfers!!

Elder Coziar and I 

The view from the Appartment

New Address:

603 Bayhill Dr. Apt 9
Traverse City, MI 49684

I love to see the Temple 6/20/15

So SURPRISE!!!! I am emailing on Saturday this week. I had the opportunity to attend the temple today which means moving the day of our Preparation/emailing days to today! Can I just tell you how much I love the temple? What a special and sacred experience was to be back in the house of the Lord for the first time in 16 months. 

I had an experience there that I don't ever want to forget. I baptized a young man in January named Will Robinson. He is 14 years old and is like my little Brother. Today as I walked into the temple, I saw President Herlin, who is the Branch President in Houghton Lake. It would have been enough to just see him and his wife, but he also told me that the came on a youth baptismal trip and that Will was there! One of the more special experiences of my mission has to be seeing him in the Temple. It's been a long time since I have felt that kind of joy. I love the Temple.

I have to be honest and say that I am very spiritually and physically tired, so if this email is very short and incoherent, that is why. The week was one of the more productive I have had on my mission. We didn't have any trade offs or administrative things to do so we worked our tails off. We did a lot more door knocking than we usually have the opportunity to do, and we saw miracles. One of the days we talked to 10 people or so in the first hour and picked up 7 potential investigators and set up 5 new appointments for the following day. So far, we have found 4 new investigators this week which has been a huge blessing. I have no idea why the Lord is blessing us so much here in Lansing. On top of that, I recieved word that another investigator from Houghton Lake named Carol is getting baptized this next Saturday. The blessings are coming in a steady stream, and it is a miracle to be a part of. What a great work is being done in my past 2 areas. 

As for my weekly Sarah update, we have the best ward, and she is the best missionary in the world. Her and Tiffany are secretly reading together, her daughter Sarah is went to girls camp on Friday, she was SOOO excited to tell us about her downloading a ton of new "Mormon Apps and Games" for her kids, and she is literally inviting everyone and her mother to church haha. She has been such a huge strength to my testimony and I will forever love that family.

Janell is on date now for July 25 and is doing super well. We have had some huge miracles where we were about to walk by people but felt prompted to go back and they needed to talk to us. I cannot tell you how blessed this area is and how happy I am to be and serve here. Transfers are this week, and I have been here 6 months now, so I am on the Chopping block. Who knows what the future holds for me, but I am thankful for what has happened in my past and all that I am experiencing now! Love you all!!

Elder Wheat

The Detroit Temple