Monday, October 27, 2014

This week was a great week for Elder Hunter and I.  We were able to meet a lot of people!  We are starting to develop some good relationships with the members and the work is moving forward.  Cleveland is a really big area and we don't have much miles each month that we can use on the car, so we are going to have to figure out how we are going to work the area.  Elder Hunter is a good missionary we get along really well and are having fun!  On Saturday we received a text from Korina that she didn't want to meet with us anymore.  We tried figuring out her concern. Hopefully she will gain a desire to follow God's commandments sometime in the future and will turn back to the missionaries and take the lessons.  She was reading and praying and keeping all of the commitments we had left with her.  She even went to mutual.  Then, on Saturday it all went Kaboom.  The Lord will work on her though that's for sure.  We have been teaching this guy named Matthew though.  Matthew has been being taught by the missionaries for over a year now.  He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but has never been to church or really changed his life too much with the knowledge he has gained.  He came to church this Sunday for the first time and really enjoyed it.  He said that he liked how he feels really comfortable there and that it is different from other churches because normally when you go to another church everyone is looking at you like, "why are you here?" and are judging you.  He also said that he likes how we stay calm during our meetings and we don't stand up and sit down all the time.  He overall just had a really good experience.  We are going to continue working with him and hopefully as time goes on we will be able to get him ready for baptism.  He has lived a rough life and has a few things to clean up so we will see what happens:).  
We had the coolest experience ever this past Thursday!  Every Hour of Power in this area we go on splits with the Spanish Missionaries so that if we knock into someone who speaks Spanish then the Elders can contact them.  I was with Elder Resseler and Elder Hunter was with Elder Gamez.  The place we were knocking was super country so the houses were spread apart.  The first house we went and knocked on the guy answers the door and he is Indian and immediately he lets us in.  I just kept having flash backs to when I was teaching Bunny the whole time.  He sat down and told us that he is Catholic, but he loves to hear new things and gain a broad knowledge of Jesus Christ.  He was raised in India and was also raised Christian.  He was telling us how the Hindu's and Muslim's really persecute Christians there.  He told us that he has a family back in India and he had to come here to work because in India the Christians always get the 2nd hand jobs.  We were able to teach him the Restoration.  He soaked it all up.  We were able to set a return appointment with him and will be going back on Tuesday.  His name is Bino, I was impressed that I came here to meet this guy so hopefully everything works out!  He has that classic Indian accent and definitely looks Indian.  He told us that he would make us some food and that the food they eat in his part of India is different from Bunny's so I am excited to try it out.  
After we tracted into Bino and taught him Elder Hunter and I went to dinner with our ward mission leader, Bro. Roberts.  He smoked some more wild hog and made this really good Southern Texas meal.  It was delicious!  After dinner he took us out to his barn where he has tons of goats and fed them.  After we walked out of the barn there was a fence on our left and I looked over at the fence and I just saw two huge horns!  It was the Biggest Texas Longhorn I have ever seen!  It made me jump a little bit.  He got some feed for it and went into the fence and poured a massive bucket full of feed for it.  He also told us that the had a pet Buck and some Deer.  But, the Buck wouldn't come over to where we could see it.  It was an awesome experience.  They also invited us over for Thanksgiving if they are home, so we are crossing our fingers that they will be there!  
This week in my studies I have been reading a chapter a day out of the Book of Mormon and in 2 Nephi 5:27 it says, "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." I thought that was really profound that Nephi added that in there.  That there is a way to live to be happy.  I know that as we live the Gospel and as we attend the temple regularly that we will be happy!  Also, this Sunday Elder Hunter and I were both given sometime to introduce ourselves to the ward and basically say whatever we would like to.  I told the story of when I was teaching Luke's Sunday School Class and we were in Primary and the kid who was supposed to give the spiritual thought wasn't there and Luke volunteered to give it.  And, when he got up there with my scriptures he flipped to Moroni chapter 10:5 and read it and bore testimony of it.  I then testified that it is true that by the Power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things.  And I also talked about the sacrament and related the Holy Ghost to the Sacrament.  It was a really good experience being able to speak in front of people just off a whim.  
We had a fun week going out and meeting people and looking for the elect.  I hope y'all had a good week and that y'all will have another good week this week!  Elder Hunter and I will continue to work hard and have fun!  Love y'all!
Elder Willden

in the middle of no where in Cleveland, TX

Monday, October 20, 2014

This letter came today from Chase's previous companion.  Of course, I cried:)

Hey Mom!!!!!

How are you doing?! I feel as if I haven't heard from you, it's been a while. Especially since Chase is no longer my companion but you know what?! He's still my brother and I love him! 

I want to thank you for the amazing birthday package I received last month. I shared it with the entire zone! You must forgive me for thanking you so late. I'm slowly getting out of the habit of procrastinating. hehehe I promise that I don't do the same with missionary work! =)

Chase and I had our last(Hopefully not, because there are still two other young adults that we've thought together that will eventually be baptized.) celebration as Carisil Lumapas shared he testimony at her baptismal service. The spirit was so strong and so many non-members were there which is great!

I don't know if Chase told you but I get super anxious, stressed, and nervous, when planning an event because I want everything to go perfectly according to plan. hahaha It turned out to be amazing!

I know for a fact that last night Chase and I were reminded to cherish forever the experiences we've had while serving the YSA branch! We were surrounded by so many people we loved.

Thank you so much mom for everything you've done and do for us! I love you! Elder Sully Guerrier =)   

Happy Birthday BAILEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   You are officially 18 olds!  And thank you mom for the money I would be starving without you :D


I am now in Cleveland, Texas.  It is just like Kountze.  We are basically in the middle of nowhere.  We drive a truck and there are a lot of humble country people.  My new companion is Elder Hunter.  He is from Provo, Utah and has been out for 1 week in the field now!  It has been crazy trying to get to know the area and go out and meet people.  It puts being outgoing to the next level!  From what he was telling me, Brandon Davies from the BYU Basketball team grew up for some of his life in his home.  Elder Hunter graduated this year and he played soccer throughout all of his high school career.  He is a good, hard working missionary and we will have a good two transfers together!  
When we first got here to Cleveland we were so lost!  The GPS was a life saver and even with it, it is not always correct.  But, we managed to make it through the week and meet a lot of people.  Don't ask me what their names were again because I couldn't tell you, but that will come over time.  On Wednesday we were able to meet our ward mission leader.  He lives way out in the middle of nowhere and has a lot of land.  His name is Brother Roberts.  He went to BYU and was very good at shotputting and supposedly holds a record there and here in Cleveland.  Everyone knows him and respects him; so he is a great tool for missionary work.  But, while we were there he gave us some of the wild hog jerky that he had from one of the pigs he decided to shoot cause it was in his yard either this week or last week.  It was okay, but at least I can say I have had wild hog now!  All the people in the ward on Sunday warned us that you never know what you are going to eat when you go to the Roberts; so I am excited to have a meal with them this week!
  As Elder Hunter and I were going to throw away all of the junk mail that we receive every week we stopped and talked to a girl on the way.  She asked us a question she said, "Why do people hate Mormons so much?"  We were then able to answer her question by teaching her the Joseph Smith Story.  It was really awesome and she was really interested in learning more, so we set up an appointment for the following day.  We went back by and were able to teach her the Restoration in its entirety and it was a great lesson we then committed her to read 3 Nephi 11, be baptized, and to come to church.  It took a while to get her to commit to it, but we were able to.  By the way her name it Korina.  Later that day we received a text from her saying that she was able to understand it and that it was really good!  Then, Sunday she came to church and really enjoyed it.  After church we read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her and part of 1 Nephi 1.  She is progressing so fast!  Now I will tell you the back story on her.  She is from Oklahoma.  Her mom brought her down to Houston to live with her mom's boyfriend.  It didn't work out and her mom went back to Oklahoma while Korina just stayed here with her Aunt and Uncle that she doesn't really know.  She is only 16 and she just sits at home everyday and isn't really doing anything with her life at the moment.  But, the Gospel will help with that.  We were also able to commit her to be baptized on 15th of November, so we will see how it all works out.
  Other than that, we haven't really had many people to teach because the Elders just baptized the few people they were teaching; so we are working on building up a teaching pool which should be easy to do considering the fact that there are a lot of nice people here that are willing to spend a few minutes to learn about Jesus Christ.  We also met another guy this week who came to church, but wasn't interested in taking the lessons.  His name is Ronnie.  He is an older guy and this guy loves Jesus.  He invited us into his home and I have never seen more crosses on a wall than this guy had.  His house was kind of a mess though and he offered us some water so we took it.  We watched him take out the ice with his hands that were all grimy and set it on his semi-clean counter then proceeded to grab the cups and set held them at the side of the counter while he moved the ice over the semi-clean counter into the cup.  It was sick!!!!  And, he filled them up with water and handed them to us.  Both of us only took one sip haha.  I couldn't take it!!!!  But, we had a good conversation about Jesus then he tried to show us that we can't have anymore of God's word (about the Book of Mormon), but also tried to say that we could receive revelation.  It was really frustrating because he didn't even know what he was talking about so we couldn't have a good conversation about the scriptures.  Then, he told us that he wasn't interested in learning more, but would come to church and we just closed with a prayer and left.  Its interesting because after this was when we talked to Korina.  He actually showed up to church though and said that he enjoyed it.  He was an interesting guy.
Overall I am doing great.  I love this area and I love this ward!  The ward is amazing!  They are so loving and caring and they look to help the missionaries.  I love y'all and hope that Bailee has a fantastic Birthday week!  And that we all have a fun safe week!  Love y'all!
Elder Willden

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sorry for the late email.  We have been busy trying to say goodbye to everyone we need to.  Obviously from that you know that I am getting transferred.  This is going to be the hardest move for me yet.  I love this place and all of the people I have been able to meet.  They are simply amazing.  Just before we came to email we were at the Stewart's house (The Patriarch and his wife) and they gave us some cake and ice cream and then they gave me a Texas Belt Buckle as a departure gift.  They have had a profound affect on my life and I will always remember them and all they have taught me.
  This week has been a good week though.  Carisil wasn't able to be baptized this Sunday because she had to work and Warren was going to be out of town (the person baptizing her).  So, she will be baptized this week.  We were going through the baptismal questions with her this past week and she answered those questions the best that I have ever heard them answered.  She knows the doctrine and she lives what she knows.  Now here is the bad thing.  This transfer they are taking YSA out of our area and moving it to another set of missionaries.  Therefore neither Elder Sully and I will be the missionaries working with her the rest of the week.  But, we will both be at her baptism.  I was pretty mad about that when I first heard it, but I am dealing with it.  All will go well and she will be baptized and continue on in the church.  She was saying that she is planning on going to BYU Provo or Idaho in January so I am sure some how or another y'all will be able to meet her.  
  Ken Jones is still doing well.  He and his wife fed us dinner yesterday and it was really good!  We were also able to talk to his wife about the church.  It was awesome!  She has been researching the church and has loved what she has found.  We talked about the church welfare system and many other programs of the church.  Then we started talking about Joseph Smith because she had seen the Joseph Smith Movie.  And, it evolved to the Golden Plates and how we got the Book of Mormon and we were able to read many powerful passages out of the Book of Mormon with her that describe what it is all about.  Like 2 Nephi 25:26, Mosiah 3, and etc...  It was just a great conversation and hopefully now the Elders will start to work with her and she will get baptized in the near future.  Ken Jones continues to read his scriptures and progress though.  
  Jamie and Andy didn't make it to Stake Conference this week.  They said they didn't have enough gas and that they are trying to make it last because they don't have any money for a few days until he receives his pay check.  They did say that they are excited for Sunday next week to take the sacrament and etc...  But, they have been reading a lot lately, they are in Alma 2.  I hope all goes well with them and that they will continue to read their scriptures and go to church and pray to our Father in Heaven and I know that if they do, they will become some of the leaders in the church.  They have good hearts and bright minds and as they develop their talents and skills, I think that their children will follow their example and that their kids will be a light and beacon to those around them of the Restored Gospel. 
  We were able to teach Alex this week as well and she is doing fantastic!  She prayed about if she needs to be baptized or not and received the answer that she needs to.  We committed her to get baptized two weeks from this last Sunday, so hopefully the new Elders will be able to carry that out.  It is amazing how if you ask a specific question to God with real intent having faith that you will receive that....every time you will receive an answer.
  Overall everything is doing great here in Channel View and will continue as Elder Sully carries on the work here.  I really love this area and all of the people in it!  I love my mission and everything I have learned, and I love y'all!
Elder Willden
Elder Sully and Willden at Zone Conference

Some of the Zone missionaries at Conference

Elder Willden, Debra and Berlinda

Elder Willden and the Webb Family
Elder Willden, Warren and Carisil

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference was LEGIT!  I really enjoyed all of it!  I packed up all of my notes that I took during conference in an envelope and  will be sending them to y'all.  I really loved all of it.  One of the ones that stuck out to me was by Lynn Robbins.  I love how he explained that we need to stand for what we believe and never give into peer pressure.  And, I loved how blunt D. Todd Christofferson was when he explained that truth is truth!  Overall, I was spiritually filled and it was an awesome conference!
  We have been working with Carisil a lot for the past week.  Carisil will be getting baptized this Sunday!  We were having a lesson with her and she exclaimed that she didn't feel like she was ready to be baptized.  As we asked some more questions and read a few scriptures she told us that she didn't feel worthy of being baptized right now.  We then asked her the question, "Would God want you to feel that you are unworthy or tell you that you are unworthy?" She then replied as expected, "no"  we then added the following question, "Then who would put that into your mind or want you to feel that way?" then a moment of silence passed by with tears and she replied, "Satan"  we again sat in silence for a few seconds as tears continued to flow.  We then told her that as we make good steps in our lives Satan will do everything he can to pull us down, we need to blot his voice out and listen to the encouraging voice of the Spirit.  It was awesome!  We then re-invited her to be baptized on the 12th of October and she said yes.  We are super excited for this baptism!  Thank you for all of your prayers in her behalf and the prayers for my companion and I, so that we could have the Spirit in order to teach.  
  Erika still has yet to talk to her parents.  We think because her parents are very strict she is afraid to bring anything up to them.  We recommitted her to talk to them and it was a solid commitment so we will see if she kept it sometime this week.  But, she continues to read and pray and keep all of the commitments that we leave.  
  Ken Jones gave us a call today and told us that the Spirit told him that we were hungry and needed some food, so he made us some sandwiches.  We were able to go over to his house before we came to email and eat them with him.  He used to work at a sandwich shop and those sandwiches were like professionally made.  We sat down and talked for a bit and he showed us some of his Kung Fu stuff haha.  We were also able to talk about General Conference, because he had watched all of the sessions.  He really enjoyed it and it was fun to talk about all of the different things that we learned.  Ken is a character and I love the guy.  He calls us his sons :) haha.  
  We haven't been able to see Jamie and Andy too often this week.  They are doing well though from what we know.  They still struggle, but the Lord always strengthens them.  I can't wait until they are able to be sealed in the temple!  That will be a special moment.  And I will most definitely be coming out here to Texas for that occasion:).  
  It was a great week!  All is going well in Summerwood!  We are going to be going to MLC on Tuesday and will be doing Zone Meeting on Friday in the meantime we will also be planning a baptism.  Our schedule is packed!  But, we like it that way.  The mission is the best thing ever!  Also, President and Sister Drake are doing just great as far as I know.  They seem to have everything down now and are driving and influencing the mission for good.  I LOVE Y'ALL!
Elder Willden