Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This week was a great week!  We have been working with Jamie and Andy a lot.  They have been going through a lot of trials lately like their water wasn't turned on and they have literally no furniture in their home and etc...  We brought a member with us one night and he offered to help them pay to turn their water on and gave them tables and chairs.  It was amazing to see the commitment this member had to helping others.  We were able to teach Jamie and Andy part of the Plan of Salvation last week too and they loved it.  Jamie told us that she had always wondered where we came from and that it was awesome to now have the answer.  The spirit was very strong in that lesson and Jamie and Andy just soaked it all up.  We ended after talking about the fall of Adam and Eve.  The Fall is one of the unique parts of our message, because we convey it a completely different way from the world.  As we were able to explain that it was part of God's plan and show them in the scriptures like in 2 Nephi 2:22-25, the spirit was able to testify of its truthfulness.  Jamie and Andy also came to church this Sunday with their whole family.  They loved it and want to go to church every Sunday!  There is only one problem though that will also interfere with their baptism.  Andy recently got out of jail and is having to go to an anger management class every Saturday and Sunday from 9-10 am.  That would prevent him from being able to receive the Holy Ghost until he finishes all of his classes.  So, we may have to push back their baptismal date based on how that all works out. 
  This week we really struggled with finding new people to teach.  And, Saturday night as we looked at our actuals we had no new investigators.  We decided to pray as a companionship that we would be able to find 4 new investigators the next day when we would only have 3 hours of proselyting for the day because we had church for 6 hours and a baptism to go to in Baytown which I will talk about later.  I also personally decided to fast that we would find 4 new people to teach.  When the day had gone by and it was time to proselyte I had the thought pop into my head that there was no way that we could get even 1 new investigator in the time that we had seeing that we had an appointment with someone at 8 and that would take up the rest of our night.  I then thought to myself God can do anything, if he could tear down the prison that Alma and Amulek had been placed in by the Ammonites, if God could give Ammon sufficient strength to defeat all those Lamanites who came against him, then God could definitely help us teach a few new people the Restored Gospel.  Right after I thought that we went and tried a family that we had knocked into during the Hour of Power and they were there!  And, they allowed us to teach them our message.  That just shows that God can do anything!
  Like I mentioned earlier, I was able to go to Baytown to witness a young teenager named Chris who is 16, whom Elder Davis and I taught, get baptized.  It was an amazing experience.  Watching him get baptized made me realize how important this work really is.  I love being able to share this wonderful unique message.  (I will send a picture later Elder Davis took it on his camera)
  The last experience that has happened this week is one that I have experienced before, but one that is so profound.  I had taken money out of my account at the beginning of the month for fast offerings.  But, week after week I continued to forget to bring it to church.  I finally remembered this week.  Just some background really quick, in this ward we are lucky to get fed 2 times a week.  After church and everything we had a dinner appointment for every night.  It was a miracle.  Also as we were shopping yesterday a member bought all our food for us.  I know that if we will give God back what is already his that he will bless us to where we will not have room enough to receive it.  I love y'all and hope y'all have an awesome week!
Elder Willden  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Elder Hoyt and I had a wonderful week this week!  We were able to go on two exchanges.  I got to go back to Fall Creek!  We were able to see Jacob and Claudia who fed us breakfast, and we were able to go have dinner with Trey Woods and his family.  Natalie and Rodrick have been super busy so we were not able to see them.  Supposedly they adopted like 2 or 3 kids.  It was awesome to be able to go back there and see them.
  We were able to go teach Jamie and Andy who we have been teaching for a few weeks now.  They have about 4 kids and they are awesome.  They just moved into a new home and have had many miracles happen as they have been learning about the Gospel.  They weren't able to come to church this Sunday, but we will continue to work with them.  They committed to come to church this coming sunday and they are looking forward to their baptism on June 8th.  Sorry I am really low on time this week seeing that we are doing what is called a Zone P-day.  I will write more next week to make up for it.  I love y'all and hope all is going well with the new home and etc... 
Elder Willden

Monday, May 12, 2014

It was AWESOME being able to talk to y'all yesterday!  Sounds like y'all are all settled in and doing well!  Also tell Mimi/Der I hope she gets better soon.  Elder Hoyt and I had a great week.  I pretty much told y'all all about it in the phone call so this email might be a little short.  We were able to teach Dante this week and it went really well as we talked all about the Book of Mormon and were able to read Mosiah Chapter 3 with him.  We will continue to work with him and strive to help him progress.  He didn't show up to church this week so we will see if his baptism will work out by next Sunday if he shows up to church.  
  We went on exchanges on Saturday and I was able to go to the spanish area that covers Fall Creek.  It was awesome being over there again in that apartment complex.  At the end of the exchange I had a feeling like we needed to go see Bobby.  If y'all remember who Bobby was.  He was an older black man that Elder Roundy and I use to teach every Saturday night, then his wife shut everything down.  So, we went over there and right when we got there they had just pulled into there driveway and Bobby looked over and he was stunned.  He got out and we started talking and he was all excited to see me.  Then, they invited us to go inside and eat dinner, so we did.  And while we were in there he told me that he had just been talking about us and saying that he wouldn't be seeing us ever again, then he turned around and there I was.  It was an awesome experience.  I know that God is guiding us! 
  I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!
Elder Willden

A few weeks ago in Baytown, Elders Willden and Davis found this sticky note on their car!

Ran into Elder Rush on transfer day.


Doing Sunday night numbers

Thank you Sister Crawford; he finally eats his veggies!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

I am now in Summerwood!  My companion is Elder Hoyt.  He came out with Elder Davis and will also be going home this transfer.  The zone we are over covers Fall Creek, so I will be able to go work there for a day sometime soon on exchanges.  We also cover two areas.  The first one is Channel View for a ward called Pine Trails.  Then, we also cover the YSA branch which covers 3 stakes!  Just to give y'all a feel for it, we cover Baytown, Pasadena, Kingwood, and etc...  We also attend both the ward and the branch for church, so we are in church from 9-12 then we head strait to the Summerwood building and go from 1-4.  Elder Hoyt has been a zone leader for 1 transfer so far, so I have had the chance to lead a little bit.  It is a really good experience for me.  A little background on Elder Hoyt: he is from  Kamas, Utah.  He had cancer when he was a kid, but he pulled through!  He is quiet most of the time, but he has a good heart.
  This area is a really good area.  We teach a lot.  We were able to teach a guy named Fransisco.  Francisco is very opinionated and is very strong in his beliefs.  We taught him three times last week and the last one we had was on Saturday.  In the previous lesson we invited him to read 2 Nephi 33 and pray about it.  When we went back, he hadn't kept the assignment we had left.  Instead he researched scriptures to prove us wrong and history on Joseph Smith.  At the beginning of our lesson we read 2 Nephi 33 with him because he hadn't read and then afterward he asked if he could share with us what he wanted to share.  We allowed him to do so and he started going off, and I began bashing with him (even though I shouldn't have).  I was just really frustrated that he spent the entire time we were gone researching stuff to prove us wrong instead of  actually reading what we left and trying to find out if it was true.  My poor companion just sat there while we bashed back and forth for 30 min.  After that we invited him to read Mosiah 3 and he wanted us to come back.  But, next time if he comes with more stuff to bash with, we will have to stop going there.  
  Now for the spiritual stories :).  On Wednesday we decided we should go try this referral we had received.  We went and knocked on the door and a younger guy answered the door, we asked if the lady, which was our referral, was there and he told us that she wasn't.  We then asked him if he would be willing to listen to our message and he was.  His name is Dante and we were able to teach him right on his front porch.  It was a very spiritual lesson and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted.  We were able to teach him one other time last week and we set a date for the 25th of May.  We are excited for him, and excited to see the changes that will happen in his life.  
  Last night we went and taught a man who was excommunicated his name is George.  It was a good lesson.  He still believes everything we do; he has just made some decisions in his life that weren't right.  At the end of the lesson Elder Hoyt invited him to say the closing prayer.  He said that he didn't want to, and Elder Hoyt and I just remained quiet.  He then repeated that he didn't want to, so I said, "If I say the prayer this time will you say it next time".  Then the spirit hit me and said, "no".  I then said, "You know George we have been called as messengers of Jesus Christ and we know that it is not us asking you to pray, it is Jesus Christ asking you.  I don't want to take this opportunity from you, so will you say the prayer?"  Afterward the spirit was very strong in the room.  George began to cry, and said, "I am not ready yet".  We again were silent.  A minute later he looked up at us, with tears in his eyes and said, "I forgot how".  I then reached out and touched his shoulder and told him that we would teach him.  We taught him how to pray and invited him to pray, and he said, "Would you say it this time and I will say it next time?".  Being filled with the spirit I responded saying that Heavenly Father has waited a long time to hear from him and that I would not take that away from him.  Afterwards he accepted to pray and said a wonderful prayer.  After the prayer our eyes were wet and the spirit was very strong.  It was a testimony that God wants to hear from all of his children and loves each and everyone dearly.
  I love this work!  It truly is the work of salvation.  I love y'all and pray for y'all nightly.  Have a wonderful week!
Elder Willden

Since we have church all day until 4.  I will call home around 6 our time.  5 your time.  Love you!  And Happy Mothers Day!

By the way something I forgot to mention in my last email is that we live in a member's home!  I have pictures, but because I forgot the cord to hook up to the computer, I will have to send them next week.  Love you!