Monday, July 28, 2014

And now behold Elder Poteki and I had a long tribulation as we were out knocking upon all the doors of Channel View looking for the elect.  Behold many doors were slammed in our face and many men and women would look through their window and not answer the door.  But, we continued to press forward declaring his word from one end of Channel View to the other.  The spirit of truth was with us always as we went out into the field to harvest.  Now behold we were not able to sit down and teach a single soul unto repentance from all of our knocking. 
 Nevertheless we were able to set up many appointments for this week.  And we taught Andy and Jamie this week.  Behold they continue to press forward feasting upon the words of Christ with unshakable faith towards him.  And on the fifth day of the week Andy was Interviewed by President Drake and we will now continue on in achieving our goal of baptism, by getting the President of the church to approve him unto baptism and the reception of the Holy Spirit.  
Again on the same night of the interview, behold Andy said unto us, as he was sitting in his home he looked upon their picture of the Houston Temple and he said unto himself that he will make it there one day.  I testify that as they continue to Feast upon the words of Christ with unshakable faith in him, and as they attend church and obey the commandments which we have been given that they will get there one day!  
  Verily Verily I say unto thee that as Elder Poteki and I were out declaring the word of God upon the housetops we were able to see Jeremy yet again.  He had given himself to much prayer from the time we left him last Sunday.  Behold we did declare unto him the Restoration of the fullness of times.  As we recited the Joseph Smith story the spirit of peace entered into us and behold we were prompted by the Holy Ghost to have Jeremy bow himself before our maker and pour his heart out unto him and while so doing to ask God the Eternal Father if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if Christ's Church has been restored on the earth once again in these latter days.  As he began to pray behold the Spirit of the Lord began to fill the room, after he had poured out his heart he exclaimed three times, I feel good...  I feel really good.  Therefore after we had seen the readiness of his heart we then asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper authority.  He answered yes, directly after we invited him unto a date and he agreed.  
And Now Behold we will continue to teach unto him and help him to prepare to meet his maker.  
  Now this is the report.  Behold we continue to thrust in our sickle with all of our might and the Lord will bless these people of Channel View, Texas.  
  I hope you enjoyed my report in the Book of Mormon language.  Right now as a mission we are reading in the Book of Helaman.  I love the way that Helaman talks about the Lamanites in chapter 15 verse 5.  As he states that they do walk circumspectly before God.  Circumspectly means to act with Caution, Care, and Forethought.  As we act with all these things before God continually I know that our Father in Heaven will bless us!  I love y'all and hope that y'all have a fantastic week!  And Andy will hopefully be approved soon, President Drake will be calling Salt Lake to try and hurry up the process today.  Love Y'all!
Elder Willden

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Sunday right after church Elder Poteki and I got a call.  It was some Elders in the zone wondering if we could help them out at their baptism in an hour.  They wanted to know if Elder Poteki would sing a song before the baptism and after if we would share the Joseph Smith experience with the group while they were changing(because they were baptizing their investigator).  We complied and we had to take off to our dinner appointment and then we went straight to the church.  Elder Poteki sang and it was really good, then they had the baptism and after we were getting ready to share the experience and after the experience is shared we normally sing Joseph Smith's First Prayer.  We decided to sing it on our own...  It went really well, although I could not hit the high notes and sat back and watched as Elder Poteki did.  I have never sang in front of a group before like that, so it was a different experience.  
  After we had that experience, we went  by a guy's house that Elder Poteki and I had tracted into when we first got together.  He was there and totally wanted to hear our message.  We were able to teach with clarity and power.  The spirit was there.  He has 3 kids, an older daughter and 2 little boys.  Right when we got there his wife had to leave to go to a funeral or something, so we were not able to have the lesson with her.  But it was a great experience and he really wanted us to come back!  They will be an awesome family addition to the church.  His name is Jeremy Chargois.  As we were teaching, we used a lot of the stories of Moses to relate to the points we were trying to teach.  He told us that Veggietales had done a special episode on Moses and he had watched it with his kids, that is why he knew a lot about it!  What would this world do without Veggietales!  In the lesson we also talked about the spirit and the influence of the spirit using the scripture in Galatians 5:22-23.  He was just awesome though and soaking everything up.  
  Overall this week was a slower one compared to normal, just because we don't have too many people to teach.  But, we are going out and looking for the elect.  Talking to everyone and looking for opportunities to serve.  This morning I was able to read in Helaman 8 and 9.  I love that story!  Nephi is up on the wall praying and the people gather around and he teaches/rebukes them and the prophesy of the death of the chief judge and all of the key factors that went into the story!  I also really like how the 5 ,who were sent to see if the chief judge was dead and did not believe anything Nephi had said, later on, confound the Gadianton Judges defending Nephi.  I loved the change that took place as they recognized truth that required action to obtain happiness. 
  I love the scriptures and like Nephi delight in them.  They truly do have the secrets of God for our salvation.  I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!
Elder Willden

7/13/14 Sunday night Gumbo!

Elders Willden and Poteki 7/20/14

Monday, July 14, 2014

This week was MLC week and Zone Meeting week!  We were able to go to a meeting with all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders on Tuesday.  We talked a lot about how we could improve and we talked about teaching effectiveness.  We also talked about the faith of our mission.  Sister Drake gave a great talk on Countenance and how big of a deal our countenance is.  President Drake talked a lot about our teaching effectiveness and a few other things.  It was a great meeting.  After the meeting Elder Poteki and I decided that our Zone needed to go over Faith.  As we were Planning out zone meeting we decided to say a prayer.  After the prayer we came up with an idea of Picking one word for each letter in the word faith.  We came up with these words, Fasting, Attributes (standing for Christlike attributes), Inspiration, Testimony, and Help (meaning doing service all the time).  The Zone Meeting went great!  The missionaries came away inspired to go out and work harder and lift those people they are working with.  
  This week was also awesome because Jamie and Andy are doing great!  Jamie told us that she wants to be more involved in the church.  We told her about callings and how she should be receiving one soon.  They have an awesome Home Teacher who is going the extra mile to help them and the visiting teachers are doing the same!  So, the ward is doing a great job of taking care of them.  Jamie and Andy have also been reading a lot out of the Book of Mormon.  Jamie has a highlighter that she uses in case she doesn't understand something or she really likes a verse and has been just pumping through the Book of Mormon.  Their comprehension of the Book of Mormon just seems to improve daily.  I told them that after the mission I am going to have to bring y'all by to see them and they really liked the idea haha. 
  This week I was able to go on exchanges to Fall Creek again!  It was awesome as we were able to see Claudia since Jacob was gone for the day and we were also able to go see Bobby Harris.  He continues to read from the Book of Mormon and is doing well.  We also were able to go over and see Charles!  Charles is still on Parole, but he got it approved to come to church so he has been at church every week since then.  His only problem with getting baptized is he needs to move out of the current home he is in because it is his x wife's house.  He has been reading doctrine and covenants and all sorts of stuff now though!  He has progressed so much!  I am so glad that Elder Martinez and I were able to find him.  
  While I was in Fall Creek, Elder Poteki and the Elder He was with went and tried to see Joseph and were able to teach him!  Even though we haven't seen him in a while he has been continuing to read and pray and keep all of the commitments we have left him thus far.  He has a lot of potential and hopefully he will be baptized soon.  
  This week was a great week for Elder Poteki and I!  I Love serving the Lord!  Love Y'all!
Elder Willden

Back yard of a guy we tracted into

chick dil a after zone meeting

Sunburn in 100 degree Tx weather....they are calling me "red lobster"

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Love Missionary Work!
 I could just write that every week and be satisfied, but I don't think Mom would like that too much! 
 Elder Poteki and I had another outstanding week.  We were able to meet President Drake on Tuesday which was awesome!  Our whole Zone met at the Summerwood Chapel and when President and Sister Drake walked in, we all clapped for them and they sat down and talked with each companionship individually.  He is a really loving guy!  While he was talking to Elder Poteki and I, he said that he was told by one of Dad's friends to make sure that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing haha.  We are definitely happy he came here to THE Mission of the church!  
After we all talked to them, we were able to go into the Chapel and he had some Elders and Sisters stand up and bear their testimonies.  Afterwards, they stood up and gave background on themselves and allowed us to ask questions.  I really enjoyed my time with them.
  Elder Poteki and I were able to teach Darin a little bit this week.  But, we have kind of lost contact for the meanwhile,  so we are going to try and get back in contact.  The last time we met with him he was doing great keeping all of his commitments, so I will let y'all know what happens with him.  
Jamie and Andy are doing well.  Andy had to go to an anger management class this Sunday, so he was not able to come to church.  We will continue to work with him and eventually we will get a letter sent off to the Prophet and hopefully all works out to where he will be able to take that wonderful step of being baptized and soon to go to the temple with his wife.  The Gospel has literally changed their lives.  It has been a privilege to see the growth and the change over the time we have been able to visit with them and invite them to live it.  It is a living testimony that the Gospel changes our lives and helps us deal with the problems and challenges we all face in life.  
I have seen this effect in my own life as a few nights ago I looked back in my journals and have seen the transfiguration of the way I think and the way I act.  I know that what we teach is true and that through studying the scriptures diligently and applying what we learn will change us. 
  This week something possessed me and I decided to bear my testimony in the Young Single Adult Branch.  I bore my testimony on the sacred blessing of the sacrament.  I read in 3 Nephi 18 verse 7 where Christ explains the purpose of the bread and in later verses talks about the water; but he says something interesting in verse 7. He says, "And this ye shall do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you.  And it shall be a TESTIMONY unto the Father that ye do always remember me..."  I know that when we partake of the sacrament that we bear a solemn and firm testimony of the Savior to our Father in Heaven.  I love the sacrament and the blessing pronounced therein which is that we will always have His spirit to be with us.  I also find it interesting how often Christ says the word Remember.  Remembrance is one of the most important principals to Salvation.  I know that if we will always remember Christ in all we do, then we will act the way Christ would act.  Our purpose in this life is to follow Christ to do as he did, therefore we would be fulfilling our purpose and through Christ would obtain Salvation.  I love this Gospel!  I love everything to do with the scriptures!  And, last of all I love y'all! 
Elder Willden 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We were able to have our weekly conference call with President Drake this morning.  It went really well.  President Drake seems to be a really kind and loving man.  Y'all are just staying busy!  That's good.  Elder Poteki and I have been working well together I will give you more details in the big email.  And as of now we have no idea what will be going on the 4th.  Last year they made us go in early, but we will see what President Drake has us do.  Jamie got baptized this week!  I will explain in the email to everyone.  Love Ya!
Elder Willden 

So... Jamie got baptized this Sunday!  It was awesome.  What happened was Elder Poteki and I felt inspired that Jamie needed to be baptized asap so that the family could have the spirit stronger in their home and so the ward could be able to form around them more.  On Tuesday we invited Jamie to be baptized on Sunday and she accepted.  We got everything ready and she was baptized.  It was an awesome experience to see her take yet another step of faith entering the waters of baptism.  Andy really wants to be baptized too.  We will continue to work with him and hopefully he will be approved for baptism. 
  We had an amazing miracle happen this past week.  But, I will tell you the miracle after I tell you about something Elder Poteki and I did.  One day we decided to set a goal for how many baptism's we wanted to have together.  As we thought about it we decided we wanted to have 6 baptism's.  We then made plans on how we would accomplish it.  After we made the plans we presented it to the Lord.  Ever since then we have been abiding by the things we have decided to do to the best of our abilities.  Now having that being said we have been having miracles a lot lately.  On Wednesday we were out proselyting and we met up with a member to go teach Emily Medina.  I am not sure if I have talked about her in my past emails so sorry if I haven't.  She lives in an apartment complex and she lives on the top floor.  As we were walking towards the steps we walked past an apartment and as we were passing it a man opened the door and jumped like he was really surprised.  We didn't think much of it and said, "How are you?" he replied and we went up the steps towards Emily's apartment.  We knocked on the door and as we were waiting that same guy walked up to us and asked if we could come teach him after we were done.  We told him that we sure would!  He told us his name is Darin and he walked back to his apartment.  We went in and taught Emily and after we stopped by the Darin's house.  He answered the door and told us that he couldn't let us in because that place was not his apartment.  He asked us where our church was and if we could meet with him there.  We set a time for later that night.  We went to the church at the appointed time and he was there.  We were able to teach him the Restoration and it was a very spiritual lesson.  He told us that he has just gotten out of jail that his car is up for repossession and he is getting kicked out of the place he is staying, when he walked outside and the first thing he saw was us he knew that it was a sign from God of something he needed.  Now we have taught him the Plan of Salvation and will be continuing to teach him.  
  Overall we had an awesome week.  Elder Poteki and I continue to work hard and have fun!  Sorry for not sending this until today we were kicked off the computers and not able to get back on, not for a bad reason we just ran out of time.  Love y'all!
Elder Willden

Houston temple Moroni

A lady at a street stand made a cool treat!

Jamie's baptism day

A member gave a gift card to red lobster!! Wow!