Monday, March 24, 2014

Elder Davis and I had a good week this week.  We got a lot of new missionaries in our Zone and it has been fun getting to know them.  It is awesome to see the new missionaries and to see how much you learn and grow through the whole missionary experience and to see the awesome new spirit about them.  It makes me want to be better.  This week we had Stake Conference.  It was really good.  A member from the Quorum of the Seventy came, his name was Elder Southward.  The Stake President talked a lot about missionary work and the youth.  He talked about dating and how younger people who aren't getting married anytime soon who are planning on going on missions should not be singling off in boyfriend/girlfriend situations(Bailee, Kolton, and Luke).  When Elder Southward closed his talk he testified of Jesus Christ and that was one of the most powerful testimonies I have witnessed.  I know that he is a special witness of Jesus Christ as well as the other General Authorities. 
  We were able to teach Hunter Pentecost this past week and he is doing good and excited to be confirmed this coming Sunday.  We were also able to teach Claire Mercury this Saturday.  She is awesome, she read the Restoration Pamphlet that we left with her last time, but she didn't read from the Book of Mormon, so we read from the Book of Mormon with her in Mosiah Chapter 3.  That chapter is a wonderful explanation of the Savior and his Sacrifice.  I love how the Angel described everything to King Bengamin  After we read that we asked her a few questions about it and committed her to read the rest of that chapter.  After the lesson she decided to give us more food.  She proceeded to give us a bunch of Junk Food that I have been getting fat on the past few days. 
  We also were able to teach a guy named James Baal this week.  He is in his 50's and has white hair.  He attends the Church of Christ and is very committed to his church.  He is well versed in the scriptures, so it is fun to teach him and see his point of view without having a modern day prophet.  We also read from the Book of Mormon with him in Mosiah Chapter 3 and it went really well.  We also showed him 2 Nephi 25:26 to help him understand that the Book of Mormon is simply another testament of Jesus Christ.  
  We taught Kenneth and he is at a stopping point almost.  He hasn't read from the Book of Mormon.  We taught him about the importance of the Book of Mormon and tried to resolve his concerns.  We read from 1 Nephi 11 and commited him to read and pray daily so we will see if that helped in our next visit.  He is very hard to understand with his Trinidadian accent, but somehow it all works out. 
  We taught Quinceton the Plan of Salvation.  It went really well.  His mom told us that she wants to wait to have him baptized until they go to California so that his family can be there.  Ultimately it is there decision, but the Bishop said he is going to work on her and try to get him baptized as soon as possible.  It was a good lesson though he understood all of it and he was really easy to teach. 
  We were not able to get in with Lambris this week.  He has been kind of pushing us off we think.  It might just be that he is busy, but we will let yall know what goes down. 
  Alright now is time for the miracle of the week.  So, all through the week until Saturday night we were only able to find one new investigator to teach.  And, on Sunday Elder Davis fasted that we would find 5 new investigator as I fasted that that everything would work out with Quinceton.  By 8:00 pm we had not found a single new person to teach.  We decided to follow the spirit as Elder Davis was driving.  Elder Davis was reminded of a person he and his former companion had tried once when they first got together a long time ago.  We went by and knocked on the door.  We talked to him and asked if we could share our message with him and his family.  He said that he would go ask his wife.  We waited on the doorstep thinking that he was going to come out like every other person and say that his wife said no.  He opened the door and said come in.  It was an awesome lesson as we were able to teach them and their 3 boys.  We have to give them up to the Hermanas because they speak Spanish, but the Lord lead us to someone who was ready to receive our message at that exact time. 
  I Love all y'all and hope y'all have a great week getting ready to move!
Elder Willden

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patricks Day one and all who read my weekly reports!  I didn't even realize it was St Patricks Day until I read Mom's email.  Anyways, I am doing wonderful!  Elder Davis and I will be going another transfer together!  Elder Davis really wanted to train for his last two transfers, but we are excited to go another one.  Elder Davis and I had a great week this past week.  We had another experience with fast offerings this past week.  On Wednesday during lunch I realized that we didn't really have anything to eat.  We had a dinner that night so we just didn't worry about it.  When we went to dinner the lady told us that she had made extra for us to take home because she felt that she needed to.  They then proceeded to ask us about how we were doing with food.  We were honest with them and told them we didn't have much.  They took us to their food storage and just unloaded a lot of food for us.  It was such a blessing.  I know that Heavenly Father is looking out for us.  After that though, on Saturday we went by to see if this lady we had talked and invited her to hear our message was home.  She was and we were able to sit down and teach her.  After the lesson she decided to feed us and while we were eating she went into her pantry and gave us a ton of food.  I can tell you right now that fast offerings are important.  As we pay generously Heavenly Father will bless us.  Even if the blessing doesn't come temporally, he will keep his promise. 
  The lady we taught that gave us all the food, her name is Claire Mercury.  As we taught her the restoration the spirit was there.  After she told us that she has been to our church before because a member had invited her.  At the time she wasn't interested in learning more.  But, because of that member getting her to church she had a seed planted and is now ready to be harvested.  She is awesome though, she is from Trinidad.  She is just a good lady and we are excited to keep teaching her.
  We also are teaching another guy from Trinidad now.  His name is Kenieth.  He just got here this past week and we tracted into him.  His accent is so funny.  He came to church and we are not quite sure how he liked it, he is really hard to read, but I will let y'all know more about him in my next email. 
  There is a kid we are teaching now named Quinceton Tautuiaki.  He is 9 years old and his family is from Tonga.  His whole family are members except for him of course because they were less-active for a time.  He is awesome and we hardly have to teach him anything because he knows almost all of it.  He will be getting baptized March 30th.  The Lord has been just giving us people who are ready.  It is amazing to see our faith and y'all's faith along with prayer in action. 
  Lambris has been really sick this past week.  We weren't able to teach him anything so once he is feeling better we will be able to teach him more.  He talked to his Dad though and his Dad told him that he will talk it out with his mother.  That is a miracle, as we continue to have faith I know that his parents will allow him to be baptized. 
  Overall I am doing well the work is going great and I continue to learn and grow as it continues forward.  I feel like I don't have much time so I feel a sense of urgency to work harder.  I am excited and sad that y'all will be moving, but it is obviously what y'all need to be doing right now.  I love y'all and hope all is well!
Elder Willden

this week's baptism

Monday, March 10, 2014

Elder Davis and I had a really good week this week.  Hunter Pentecost got baptized yesterday.  It was an awesome baptism.  We weren't able to get any pictures with my camera, but if I can get the picture we took I will send it off to all yall.  Hunter was baptized by the bishop and it was a really spiritual experience for his dad to be there.  His dad is a member that hasn't stepped inside of a church in years and Hunter taking these steps in his life has brought his father back into it.  It is awesome to see the work of God in the lives of others.  Hunter is a good kid and I hope that as he continues on the path he is on that he can become a great man. 
  This week we got to go to a meeting in Kingwood that happens every month for us called Mission Leader Conference.  We learned how to become better leaders and how to help the mission grow.  President Crawford decided to set a new mission standard for baptisms every month which was at 50 but will now be at 85!  We also changed another standard.  As a mission we were doing what we call the 333.  3 Member Presence (having a member at a lesson), 3 Progressing (Investigators keeping commitments) and 3 New (When we teach someone for the first time).  He has now changed it to 777.  Our mission is reaching higher and as we do miracles like Hunter are happening. 
  The Zone Elder Davis and I are over is the best Zone number wise in the mission at this point.  We are over some awesome missionaries that work hard and know how to work efficiently.  I love being here in Baytown it is so fun! 
  We were able to teach Lambris this week and he is doing good.  He knows the Book of Mormon is true and he has a testimony of what we are teaching.  His parents just wont let him come to church.  We will keep working with him and I know that when the time is right his parents hearts will soften and they will come and listen to our message and come to church as a family. 
  On Wednesday we were able to start teaching a new man his name it Matt Moody.  How we met Matt was we were out tracting looking for people to teach a while ago and he was outside in his garage.  We went up to him and were talking to him.  We talked about our message and how important it was.  He was willing to let us come back.  We set up an appointment on Wednesday of course and when we got there he was all ready for us.  He told us that he had, had encounters with missionaries before and they had really helped his dad out when his dad was going through a hard time.  He also told us that he had friends who were Mormon and they were always known to be good kids.  He said that those were some of the main reasons he let us come back.  As we taught him the message of the Restoration the spirit was really strong.  It was an awesome lesson and he invited us to come back.  We are hoping to get to sit down with his family too next time and share our message. 
  We had an awesome experience with Fast Offerings this week.  Elder Davis and I were reading in the White Handbook and we read under Fast Offerings that we should donate generously.  We both decided to pay a decently big amount.  We had faith that as we did this that the Lord would provide.  We got a call on Tuesday when we didn't have a dinner appointment from a member asking us if we had an appointment and if we would come over.  After that we got a call from another member telling us that she had some food for us and that she would drop it off at the church.  And, to top it off on Friday night as we were coming in from a long day of work there was a cherry pie on our doorstep.  We still don't know who brought it to us, but what I do know is that God will keep his promises.  He does provide when we take little steps of Faith. 
  I just need to talk about a few more people then I will close this Epistle.  On Saturday when I was with the Big Elder Poteki, we were at an apartment complex trying some people who Elder Davis and I had tracted into and we saw this lady with a really big dog.  We decided to go talk to her.  The dog was a really nice dog, but she still put him inside her home and we started talking to her.  Her name is Mariela.  We briefly talked about prophets and how our Heavenly Father has again reached out in love to call another prophet on the earth today and invited her to learn more about it.  She complied and we were able to teach her the Restoration.  It was an awesome lesson.  She went out of town this week though so I will fill yall in on the details about her when we see her next week. 
  The last story, on Saturday again, while Elder Poteki and I were trying people in the apartment complex we got to talk to one of the ladies Elder Davis and I talked to and we were able to set up a time to come back on Sunday.  As we went back on Sunday she was not home.  Later in the day Elder Davis and I decided to go try her again.  This time she was home with her family.  They let us in and we taught them the restoration.  Her name is Maria and her husbands name is Hulio and they have two kids.  One is 5 the other is 3.  They are both boys.  Anyways it was an awesome lesson and we are excited to go back and teach them more.  Love y'all and hope y'all have a fantastic week!
Elder Willden

Splits with Elder Poteki

Elders Poteki and Willden

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

 This week was a great week for me and Elder Davis.  We were able to go to the Temple for one of Elder Davis's converts who is going on a mission and on Saturday were able to go to a baptism in my last area as y'all know.  It was an amazing experience to go back and witness these wonderful people take steps in their lives to coming closer to our Heavenly Father.  My mission has blessed me so much already to be able to witness this so many times and the fact that I will continue to witness it.
  We will be having a baptism this week with a kid named Hunter Pentecost.  He is 17 and his whole family is inactive, but he loves church.  He told our ward mission leader that he has seen angels at church, he is a very spiritual kid.  We are really excited for him.  He is funny though because he plays the game Magic and is way into it.  He is a very big boy also.  He is probably 2 of me.  He is awesome though and we are way excited for his baptism. 
  Elder Davis and I just continue to work hard and have fun.  He is such a good companion.  Communication means everything when it comes to any relationship.  I have definitely noticed that being with him.  Because whenever we have a problem, we talk about it then and there; and we resolve our problems quickly.  I am learning so much from him.  He said that he is going to come visit y'all when he gets home.  I told him that mom cooks really good and that he can expect an awesome meal if he does!  haha.  Anyways, I have been doing great.  We work hard and crash at night.  I know that as we continue to work hard that the Lord will bless us.
  I was able to read 2 Nephi 3 today and there is an awesome scripture in it.  Verse 12 talks about the two different books the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  It tells us that they will grow together and that they will confound false doctrines and establish peace and etc...  That is so true now today.  As we use the Bible and the Book of Mormon hand in hand, we are able to learn the truths that our father in Heaven would have us learn and we can know that they are true.  I love y'all and hope y'all have an awesome week!
Elder Willden

So, I got to go back to Kountze on Saturday to Baptize Denine.  AJ and Denine got baptized as well as Betty Forman.  It was awesome to be able to be there for them.