Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It was awesome to see y'all and be able to see all the changes y'all have made.  I don't know if y'all could tell, but I was really nervous!  It was good though to be able to communicate with y'all.  
This week was an amazing week.  I love the Savior and this time we had to celebrate his birth.  On Christmas I was able to reflect back on all he has done for me and the changes and meaning in my life that he has made.  I love him dearly and am excited to be doing his work.  I got to thinking this week and have realized how fast time goes by.  I only have a year left.  So, I will make this year count!  Soon Corie will be married, and  Bailee and Kolton will be on missions.  Then, we will see Luke on a mission.  It is amazing to see y'all grow and be an example to me.  I truly love this work; it is a humbling experience to participate in. 
  We were able to go and see Bunny yesterday.  He is most definitely going to be baptized on the 18th, He is ready.  Every time we come over he is so excited and he makes us food every time too....  which is really good.  We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we were talking about the Holy Ghost the spirit prompted me to show him an example that we don't normally use.  It is when you take a bowl and fill it up with water.  Then, you put a lot of pepper in it.  After you have done that you tell them to put there finger in the water and to try not to get any pepper on it.  Once they notice that they can't put their finger in without getting the pepper on it we have them put dish soap on their finger and when you put your finger in the water the pepper separates.  We then relate the pepper to sin and the dish soap to the Holy Ghost and how it keeps us away from sin.  It was awesome because when we did that everything just clicked for him and he was so excited to receive the Holy Ghost. 
  I was also able to go on exchanges this week.  I was with the Elder y'all saw while y'all were talking to me.  His name is Elder Halvorson.  I had to ride his companions bike though and his companions bike tore up my behind!  haha.  It worked out though.  We had a good time and were able to teach many of their investigators and help them feel the spirit.  That was on Friday. 
  One last experience to sum up the week.  We go tracting as a zone every saturday at 3 o'clock.  When Elder Huff and I went out the very first door we knocked an older lady answered and accepted to listen to our message.  We then proceeded to teach her the restoration.  It went really well.  Her name is Jerry.  So we will be seeing her again some time this week and I will update y'all on how that goes.  I love y'all and hope y'all have a good safe week.  I am doing great and love it out here in Kountze, Texas.  And, sorry for not getting a picture of our trailer.  I didn't have time.  I will get one to y'all next week!
Elder Willden

A family who had us over on Christmas Eve and gave us remote control cars for Christmas!  Their last name was Ratcliff.

wearing a Joker smile while holding a rat!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Well I am now out in Kountze Texas!  It is very country.  And, I am serving with Elder Huff.  Our address is 635 E. Fox, Kountze, Texas, 77625.  I am doing great out here in Kountze.  We have to drive a Jeep because there are a lot of dirt roads we have already gotten stuck once too.  Our area is Huge.  It is like ten times the size of Fall Creek or more.  Anyways, we teach a lot of really humble country people. 
  I love this time of the year where we get to reflect on the Savior and his birth.  I love the Christmas hymns and their wonderful messages.  I know that Christ was born.  And, I know Father in Heaven loved us so much that he gave his son.  I love the spirit that comes as we reflect on this wonderful event that took place. 
  We had an awesome experience on Wednesday.  We were out riding our bikes to go try one of our investigators and we stopped to talk to a guy walking on the side of the road.  Turns out he was from India.  He has a really thick accent too.  He stated that he had a friend back in India who is a Branch President or something for our church.  He then invited us to walk home with him and teach him so we did.  We had a very powerful lesson and he cried the whole time and afterwards told us that he hadn't gone outside in over a month and us stopping to talk to him was a sign to him that God wanted this to happen.  He also told us all about how when he was in India he was Hindu, but one day someone talked about Jesus Christ to him and he felt a burning feeling and he knew it was true.  So he has believed in God and Jesus Christ since.  But, while in India he got into debt with his business and had to come over here to be able to get out of debt and provide for his family.  He is extremely humble.  We have taught him 4 times since Wednesday and he will be getting baptized on January 18th.  We are so excited.  And another funny side note about this guy, his nickname that he likes to be called while he is here in America is Bunny.  haha.
  We have just been going out and working hard and the Lord is blessing us... that describes our whole week.  I want to tell one more story though.  We were doing the Hour of Power on thursday night and we tracted into a family and we were able to teach them.  The spirit was so strong and we will be seeing them later tonight.  Their names are Steven and Shauna Roth.  I am really excited to work with them. 
  And Yes we will be skyping this Christmas:)  It will be sometime around 1:00.  I will have the member call all-y'all and set everything up!  I love y'all and am excited to get to see y'all.  I am loving my mission and I am also loving the work. Y'all have a wonderful Christmas!
Elder Willden

We were out in the middle of no where trying someone and there was a deer.  And the next one is Bunny when we had Lunch with him.  In India they eat with their hands at home, so we ate with our hands. It was quite the experience!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Well I am getting transferred.  It is hard to leave, I have learned to love this area and the people so much.  But, I am also excited to see where the Lord will take me next!  
This week was a good week.  We had our Christmas Conference on Wednesday.  It was a great experience.  I was able to see Elder Roundy, Elder Kalilimoku, Elder Meyer, and Elder Ynchausti.  We had a good time catching up and seeing the changes in each other.  
And thank you so much for the package.  I will be shipping one off to y'all today.  Anyways, This week we had an amazing miracle happen.  It was late at night saturday, and we still had 1 hour till we would go in and plan.  We had run out of people to go see.  Elder Rush and I felt like we should go try Charles.  Even though he has been out of town for three months and we were told he wouldn't be back till after Christmas.  So, we went over and knocked on his door and he answered.  And he looked really bad.  He let us in and we started talking.  Come to find out he has been in the Hospital the whole time, because his lung cancer came back.  He told us that it took all of his energy to come to the door and go and sit down.  He said he has really missed meeting with us, and that he has still been living the word of wisdom!  We offered him a blessing.  And it was one of the most powerful blessings I have ever given.  Afterward we shared a message and asked when we could come back.  He said that he will be in the hospital on monday so he is not sure.  But, he said that once he gets better he will get the rest of the lessons and come to church.  Please pray for him that he may recover quickly so that he can continue to progress. 
 We were also able to teach Deward Porter and his wife.  When I told them I would be leaving they said it was like losing a son.  I am going to miss that family.  We commited them to come to church this Sunday though and they weren't able to come because Deward got called into work.  I am sure they will come to church next week and be baptized soon.  
I am doing well and am excited to be able to see y'all and talk to you on Christmas.  I am not sure how it is going to work out since I will be moving, but it will all work out!  I love y'all and hope y'all have a spiritually uplifting week, due to this wonderful Christmas season. 
Elder Willden 

T.H.E. Mission Christmas Conference

Waiting on car brakes to be repaired in Humble, TX

Monday, December 9, 2013

Merry Christmas!  Wow how the time flies by!  This week was a great week for Elder Rush and I.  I love this Christ centered season.  To help others, and remember the Savior and his great sacrifice for us.  On Saturday morning Elder Rush and I were looking at our map and he pointed out a spot on the map that is marked out.  He asked me if I had ever been down there and I told him that I hadn't.  We both felt inspired to go there that day.  And, after an appointment we drove down there to go knock some doors or talk to people.  Once we had arrived we noticed that this was a place where the state was going to develop a community and built roads, but no one bought land.  There was one main street with little streets that broke off of the main one and there was one house per little street.  We decided that since we came down we were just going to knock each one.  The first one we knocked didn't answer so we got back in the car and drove to the next one.  There was a lady sitting outside smoking (It was really cold outside).  We parked the car and began to talk to her.  We established that we were missionaries and she said she had heard about us and our church and quickly stated that she is fine where she is at and didn't really want to listen to our message.  We asked her what her religious background was and she told us she was baptist and she began to talk about her problems with the baptist churches and why she hasn't been back.  The spirit then guided us to teach her restored truths that make those problems she had right.  We read part of Moroni Chapter 8 with her because she had a problem with children getting baptized.  And, afterward the spirit directed us to talk about Joseph Smith and we recited the Joseph Smith experience.  The spirit was so strong and I began to cry as I testified of the truthfulness of the experience Joseph Smith had and the Book of Mormon.  She then broke down also and told us about how she has had some bad things happen to her lately and that she has been really mad at God.  She told us that we were messengers to help her break the wall between her and God.  We will continue to meet with her and I will tell y'all about her progression her name is Michelle.  
  I am loving it out here in the great state of Texas.  Although we don't have snow and the temperature isn't nearly as low.  I am freezing!  I guess that's what happens when you acclimate.  I am going to die when I get home!  Elder Rush and I are doing great I love y'all and pray for you often.  I love my mission and love the work!  Have a great week!
Elder Willden

PS>  By the way transfers are coming up and I am pretty sure I am going to get transferred.  So, don't send any letters next week to this address.  If you are going to send any letters or anyone else wants to send letters that will arrive next week send them to the mission office just incase.  I love you!

This is the email that Chase sent in response to his Dad's weekly email:

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement.  It really helps.  I relate many of the experiences that I had with you to my investigators.  I hope I can follow in your footsteps and become the best missionary I can be.  I love what I am doing.  I love you!
Elder Willden

Monday, December 2, 2013

This past week was great.  Thanksgiving was a good day.  Very quiet also because it was just Elder Rush and I for most of it.  But, dinner was really good we had it with the Atkinson's (I missed your home cooked food though mom).  The mom is a member and the husband isn't.  And, Grecia is the mom's niece, so we got to have it with her also.  It was interesting because they invited over their neighbors whom were not members and were an older couple from england.  It was a good day over all and Elder Rush and I played YHATZEE pretty much the whole day.  We were extremely excited to get back to work on Friday though!  
On Monday and Tuesday it was freezing cold and raining.  And Elder Rush and I were on bikes.  As we were riding, I was thinking about how grateful that am to be able to serve a mission, and that I will never ride a bike in the rain with church clothes on ever again, so I might as well enjoy it!  On Wednesday I was able to go on exchanges with my trainer Elder Ynchausti!  It was really fun to see him as a zone leader and to be able to go out and work together again!  
  We were able to teach Deward this week!  He is awesome.  He continues to read and pray.  We are still working on getting him to church though.  We also started teaching a new guy his name is Luis, he is searching for the truth and just wants to know more about our religion.  We were able to teach him and have a very powerfull lesson.  God also gave us another person to teach named David Soto.  He is a family oriented man, but has a problem with drinking.  We taught him the restoration and he loved it so we are really excited to continue to work with him.  We taught Jacob Davila this week and he is doing great!  He is an awesome member.  We also were able to have dinner with Natalie Marshall.  We taught the restoration and talked about how much it has effected her life.  We then started talking about how we found her and it truly is an amazing story how she prayed the day before and asked God for guidance and then during the Hour of Power on thursday we were guided to and knocked on her door.  It is amazing to see her continue to progress and change.  
  This morning I was able to read the story of the healing of the man who was blind from birth in John chapter 9.  It is an amazing story.  I love the faith and courage of that man as he stood before the pharisees and declared what had happened and allowed himself to be wrongly judged and kicked out of the place.  I also love when Christ comes up to him and declares who he was and how quickly the man believed.  I love the scriptures.  I have gained a personal knowledge of my savior and the love he has for us from reading those amazing stories and teachings about him in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.  I know that he lives.  I know that he has sent his spirit to comfort us and to bless and protect us.  In every lesson Elder Rush and I are given direction in where to go and what to do to help those we teach progress and learn and make good decisions.  I love my Savior and all he does for you and me.  I love y'all!  And, think of you often throughout my prayers.  Have a great week!
Elder Willden

Cold and Wet on Monday night!