Monday, January 27, 2014

Elder Huff and I had a wonderful week this week.  Bunny got baptized!  It was the most spiritual of baptisms I have ever attended.  He came to the church an hour and a half before so that he could pray.  At one point we were looking for him, so that we could get him to change and we walked into a room and he was bawling and praying out loud.  It was so powerful.  We of course turned around and walked out and waited for him to finish.  When he and I got down into the font and got ready, he said wait I want to pray and right before I baptized him and in front of everyone, he said a powerful prayer in Telugu.  Afterward I baptized him.  This man has changed my whole perspective on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Often times we take advantage, or at least I take advantage, of the fact that we get to live with and always have these wonderful restored truths.  I will never ever take advantage of that ever again.  Then, on Sunday he was Confirmed, and he was just about the happiest man on earth.  After he was confirmed and during the sacrament he opened up his Book of Mormon and showed me something he had written down on the blank page at the beginning of the Book of Mormon.  He wrote 01-25-14 Mosiah 2:41.  I looked it up.  After I had read it he told me that the day of his baptism he was praying and he opened up the Book of Mormon and that was the scripture God gave to him.  After church later that day we went over to his home to share a message with him.  All he could talk about was how good he felt and how he wants his family so badly to partake of this fruit.  So, we guided him to and he was able to request the missionaries over to his home to give them a Book of Mormon.  He also told us that all of India needs the Book of Mormon and that when he goes back he is going to do missionary work.  I know that he will be a powerful witness of the truth in India. 
  We also were able to teach Betty Forman this week.  We had a very good lesson with her and she committed to come to church.  We were at the church waiting for her to show up and we got a text from her telling us that she is in the Emergency Room and in a lot of pain and apologizing for not being able to make it.  We texted her back offering her a Priesthood Blessing and she accepted.  After church and when she got home we went over and gave her a blessing.  She is so amazing.  I am excited to see the great member she will be.  We also have a date with her for Feb. 22nd, so I will keep y'all updated on that. 
  Overall I am doing great.  I am enjoying the great spirit that comes when there is a baptism.  I absolutely love this work!  I love y'all!
Elder Willden

Bunny's baptism

holding a very large snake

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hey Everyone!  This week was a really good week.  On Saturday we went on exchanges, and I was in Lumberton with Elder McCown.  And as you can see in the pictures, we taught a guy that really loves animals.  It was fun messing with that turkey whose name is Phil.  It was named after Duck Dynasty.  Phil was afraid of us so we could just throw him around.  It was so funny.  
We also were able to teach Bunny frequently throughout the week this week.  He came to church and that went well.  Then, we got a text from him telling us that he just got fired from his job during the day.  It doesn't help either that he will be illegal on the 23rd.  We are working on trying to extend his visa and get him a job.  We would ask for all-y'alls prayers in this time of crisis.  We know that God has a plan though and if it is part of God's plan for him to go home to India, then so be it. 
  I was also able to go to a leadership meeting in Baytown this past week.  And that was quite the experience.  President Crawford talked a lot about communication and how to effectively communicate with our missionaries.  He also told us that we are not going to have the I-pads at this time.  So, I am not sure if we will have I-pads in my time either. 
  We were also able to teach one of our investigators named Betty this week.  Last time we taught her was about a week and a half ago.  It was an awesome lesson. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restored Gospel.  It was an amazing experience.  She also commited to be baptized on the 15th of Feb.  I am pretty sure she will be our next baptism.  She felt the spirit so strong though and is very spiritually inclined.  She also told us that she had a bad experience in her last church.  They stood her up and yelled at her and told her that she was a sinner and that her father was a sinner and that they were going to hell.  We were able to explain that that never happens in our church and never will happen.  We will be seeing her at church this Sunday, so we are excited about that.
  One last experience of the week.  Kolton I wrote this in your letter for this week, so sorry.  But, on Saturday we stopped to talk to this lady on the side of the street and she just started talking about God and wouldn't even give us the chance to say ya.  And, at one point she just started talking in Jibberish.  We couldn't understand a word she was saying.  Then, afterwards she threw her hands in the air and stated, "Look I am filled with the Holy Ghost."  And, then kept on.  It was an interesting experience and made me so grateful to be a part of this restored church and to know that God is a God of understanding, not a God of confusion.
  Anyway, I love y'all and hope that y'all have a great week this week.  I love my mission and am loving the work!
Elder Willden

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This week has been a great week!  We were able to work with Bunny a lot.  We have finished the lessons with him and he is ready to be baptized.  He was also at church this week.  He worked for 48 hours straight to be able to go to church.  That has changed my life.  I will never skip church unless I am absolutely bedridden.  
As I was talking to him on Sunday that this will be one of the most memorable days of his life and he took a picture with me in the church.  He then proceeded to tell us that he would go to bed crying his eyes out every night since he got here until he met us.  He said the day he met us he hasn't gone to bed crying since.  He also now has one of the most powerful testimonies of Joseph Smith.  We were meeting with him and we asked him about Joseph Smith and he testified that he was a Prophet and the spirit was so strong.  I am so excited for him. 
  We also had an amazing experience with another one of our investigators.  His name is Dustin and he lives with one of our members for the time being(she is his mother in-law) and some background on him he has recently had surgery on his stomach.  We were over at their house teaching the Plan of Salvation and there was a weird feeling in the room.  And, out of no where he started making faces like he was in pain, so I asked him if he was okay and he said no.  His mother in-law came in and was trying to help him, but it just got worse and worse.  Then, his mother in-law came up with the idea for us to give him a blessing.  He wanted one, so while he was in pain Elder Huff anointed him and I sealed the anointing.  In the blessing he was blessed with a relief from pain and immediately his pain subsided.  It was an amazing miracle that we were able to see right before our eyes.  Afterwards his mother in-law pointed out that satan was trying to keep him from hearing our message.  It was a perfect example of how much more powerful our Heavenly Father is. 
  Overall this week was a great week full of miracles.  I love my Savior and know that he is watching out for each and every one of us. 
  We have had great weather for the past few days.  Today it has been in the 70's.  The warm weather is nice, but you always just miss the snow.  I am extremely happy and excited to start a new week.  I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week also.
Elder Willden

Random pig on the side of the road!

Picture of Ghost Road

Companion, Elder Huff

Our Jeep and Trailer Home

Proof for mom that I am really making Green Smoothies!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This week was an eventful week.  We were able to teach Bunny and he is doing amazing.  He wasn't able to come to church this sunday because he was called into work so we have pushed his baptism back to the 25th.  But, I know for sure that he will be baptized that day because he told us that he won't let anything stop him from getting baptized then.  He is so strong.  He said that when he goes back to India he is going to teach everyone he meets about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ!  He will be an amazing member! 
This week has been a great one for me.  Elder Huff and I worked hard and had lots of success.  We went on exchanges with our Zone Leaders on Friday.  I was able to go with Elder Nehring whom I replaced here in Kountze.  We had a great exchange, we were able to go see one of our investigators named Rusty Mott.  He is the Baptist Preacher.  It was awesome to be able to sit down and actually teach him without bible bashing(because that's what most preachers will do).  Overall I am doing great and had a fantastic week. 
  I would ask that y'all please pray for Elder Huff.  He is a great missionary and has a good heart, but he has some self-esteem issues.  I complement him frequently and do all I can to show my love for him.  I just felt that it would be good to have y'all praying for him too. 
  This morning I was reading in the book of Acts.  I love how simple Peter teaches the doctrine and one of my favorite stories is the one of Steven.  Where he stands up to the Pharisees and teaches them about the time from Abraham to Moses and how while they are ridiculing him he sees Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, and then is stoned to death.  He was such a powerful witness of the truth.  I was also able to read 1 Nephi 10 and 11.  Those are some of my favorite chapters in the scriptures.  I love how Nephi isn't content with just his father Lehi telling him about his vision and how he goes and asks the Lord for himself to gain his own testimony, whereas his brothers just decided to murmer and complain.  I am LOVING my Mission.  I know that Jesus is in Fact the Christ. 
 Elder Huff and I were riding our bikes on saturday and we stopped and started talking to a man.  He told us he was muslim and told us that Christ is actually going to be mohhamed coming down to destroy and bring peace.  I was then able to calmly testify that Christ has come and that he will come again and he has performed the Atonement for our sins so that we will be able to return and live with our Heavenly Father again.  We went our separate ways after that, but I was so grateful that I had that opportunity to stand up for our Savior and Redeemer and testify of him.  I Love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!
Elder Willden