Monday, November 17, 2014

Elder Hunter and I had a really awesome week and sad week.  I will start with the sad and get it over with.  We were able to meet with Thomas and we had an awesome lesson and he solidly committed to come to church.  On Sunday we were waiting for him and he never showed up so we texted him at the beginning of church asking him where he was and to make sure he was okay.  He texted us back saying that he was getting dressed this morning and ready to go when he received the answer that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and that he will be discontinuing our meetings, but he is going to continue reading the Book of Mormon to make sure that was the right answer.  Hopefully he will come along sometime in the future.  A member that we took with us to see him (Brother Parente) asked to have his phone number so he could call him.  Brother Parente called him and bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon and what we as missionaries shared with him and invited him to listen to the missionaries again.  Hopefully something works out with that.  We were just really sad to lose him.  Satan works in mysterious ways, but we are sure he will come around sometime.
  Now for the good news!  We went by and saw Korina on Friday night and she told us that she wants to start attending our church again and be a part of it.  Because she has been going and visiting other churches and she said that it just doesn't feel the same as when she comes to ours, she just feels good!  We are now going to continue our teaching with her and if she stays in town next month (She might be going to Oklahoma with her mom for a month) she will be baptized on the 20th of December.  She came to church on Sunday and is progressing very well.  It is amazing how the Gospel just makes you happy! 
 We are meeting with Jamie again.  She is so excited for a hopeful baptismal date on the 20th of December.  She is doing a lot better though, she didn't come to church this week because on Saturday night her daughter that she never gets to see was given permission to sleep over at her house and Jamie wanted to spend as much time with her as she could and they decided that they would just wait for next week to come to church.  So I will keep y'all updated on her!
  We were able to see Mathew as well this week and he is doing okay.  He expressed to us that he is so grateful that we were the missionaries that came by at this time and that we have helped him so much.  Hopefully we can continue to help him.  He said he was going to be at church today and never showed up so hopefully everything is alright with him.  We will see him again sometime this week and I will let y'all know what happened.  He is really smart though and just soaks up everything we teach him like a sponge.  He keeps telling us that he used to avoid Mormons and he would act like he wasn't home when we knocked on the door, but now he say's that we are ahead of the times.  Like we have so much knowledge and he just wants to learn more and more.  It's amazing how there is no limit to how much you can learn when it comes to the Restored Gospel.  
  We also had an awesome miracle this week!  We were going through some Former Investigators in our area book and found some people we wanted to try.  As we were going by and trying them there was a particular one that we knocked on the door and it was an older couple.  They told us that they had just moved in and that the people we were looking for just moved out.  They invited us in though and we had an awesome Gospel discussion.  We taught the Restoration in a format that I have never taught it in.  We started talking about Joseph Smith then it morphed into how God calls prophets and the how God loves us and we are his spirit children then to how Jesus Christ established a church and then to the Book of Mormon.  They were totally open and wanted to learn more.  A lot of their beliefs lined up exactly with what we believe.  We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and also to read the Restoration Pamphlet.  They also expressed to us during our conversation that they were looking for a church because they just moved in, so we invited them to ours they said they would come when they can, but they couldn't come this week due to having Grand Children coming over.  We are really excited to work with them and we will be seeing them tonight with one of our members.  
  Elder Hunter and I are doing really well.  We working hard and having fun like usual.  I love y'all and hope that y'all have an awesome week!
Elder Willden

It is officially cold here.  It got way down in the 30's this past week brrrrrr.  Love you Mom!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Elder Hunter and I had a fantastic week this week!  We are having a good time going out and working and having fun together.  We were able to add a little bit to our teaching pool this week and missionary work here is moving forward.  We were able to teach Thomas Smith again this week and we invited him to be baptized and he willfully accepted the invitation.  He has been keeping his commitments and you can tell that he is a sincere seeker of the truth.  While we are able to discuss the gospel his eyes get all teary because of his solid testimony of the Savior.  He didn't live the best lifestyle throughout his life and has found the Savior and has gained a testimony of the happiness it brings to follow his teachings.  We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation, the most profound message we have to bring to the world.  It was a very spiritual lesson and I was uplifted and edified from it as I think everyone who was there was.  We will be going back to see him tomorrow and will be following up with the commitments we have left in the last lesson as well as the baptismal date that we invited him to.  
  I was able to read a talk this week by David A. Bednar titled Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease.  It is a powerful talk and I learned something I personally thought was profound from it.  In his talk he talked about our own personal loads and how they help us to return to our Heavenly Father.  He then talked about Amulon and how he persecuted Alma and his people.  Alma and his people had done nothing wrong, yet they had been taken captive and placed very heavy burdens upon them.  He then talked about how we should pray for Help and Strength through our trials and yoke ourselves to the Savior so our burdens can be made light (not taken away).  We should not be praying for Heavenly Father to just take away our trials, because if we don't bear our own burdens and face them then we become agents that are acted upon, instead of agents that act.  I found that very profound that as we pray for the Father to strengthen us and comfort us that he will, and we will be able to overcome our problems and challenges.
  We were able to see Mathew this week and we set a return appointment and then he just disappeared.  We are worried about him because he doesn't live the best lifestyle and we aren't sure what happened to him.  Hopefully all is well and he just went out of town for a while.  We were also able to teach a lady named Jamie.  She was a Media Referral like Thomas.  Her husband is a member and was recently converted and she wasn't baptized because she is still smoking.  They recently moved down here from New York and she is really struggling.  We were able to teach them about the importance of scripture study and talked about baptism and she wants to get baptized so we will work on getting her there.  We were informed this Sunday that she was taken off to the Hospital for some psychiatric problems and hopefully she will be back soon so we can continue teaching her. 
  We were also able to teach a lady named Dena.  On Sunday we went by to see if her son was there because he had met with missionaries before and she was there and we started talking to her and she expressed a desire to go to church and to learn more and we invited her to listen to our message as she willingly accepted.  We were then able to teach her the Restoration and the lesson went great!  I personally feel that, that lesson was the best lesson Elder Hunter and I have taught yet!  The spirit was really strong as we were able to testify of the Restored Gospel on the Earth today.  I love how the Restoration flows and how it is so simple and easy to understand the importance of it and we talk about Christ's Church, the falling away, and the bringing back of it.  After the lesson we gave her our classic invitations and also invited her to read 3 Nephi 11.  We will also be going back to see her this Saturday and hopefully her husband will be there so we will be able to teach them as a family.
  I love y'all and hope y'all had a fantastic week as I did :D.  Have a great week this week and be safe!
Elder Willden
This is an old picture from Channel View, TX.  The fire chief let them play in his firetruck.

"Elder Hunter and I got some glasses to look professional so people will listen to us haha."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Elder Hunter and I had a fantastic week this week!  We had an experience yesterday that I will never forget.  We were going to teach Mathew and he lives fairly close to our apartment so we decided to walk over to his trailer and talk to anyone we saw on the way.  As we were walking there was an older guy on his front porch smoking a cigarette.  He was wearing an Alabama hat so we had an immediate conversation starter.  We began talking about Alabama how he has family there and I have family there as well.  The conversation morphed into what we share as missionaries.  As we were talking about prophets we then asked him the question, "If there was a guy on the earth right now like Moses would that be important to you?"  He immediately answered back, "Are yall Mormon?" We said yes and he told us that he doesn't believe in the Mormons.  We then asked him what he doesn't believe about us and he could only say I don't believe in the Mormons.  I was shocked at how someone could not know anything about our message and say that he doesn't believe in that.  As I reflected on it, I thought about it on the flip side, How many of us say I am a Mormon and don't know hardly anything about what we believe.  Back at home I had a very limited knowledge of what I believed.  I didn't know what the difference was from a Jehovah's Witness and a Catholic.  I didn't even know what the Restoration was.  I had seen the 20 min. movie, but I could not explain it.  I only knew the very simple and basics of what we are taught in church.  The reason for that is because I was not studying my scriptures daily and prayerfully.  I was crippled by my own lack of diligence.  It is so important that we don't cripple ourselves by allowing meaningless things to take up our time so that we don't allow the scriptures to be a part of our lives.  I love the scriptures, like Nephi I delight in them.  As I read I am uplifted and edified.  After reading my scriptures everyday I just feel happy.  Scriptures are the medicine for happiness as we apply the principals into our lives.  I know that as we read the scriptures that we can be free of the chains of the adversary and we will not be crippled.  When someone asks you what you believe your mouth will be filled and the spirit will testify to your words.  I invite everyone reading this email to make a personal commitment to start reading the scriptures daily and if you already are then to continue that pattern. 
  We were able to see Mathew a few times this week.  He is doing okay.  He has the mouth of a sailor, but we are going to work with him on that.  We are going to have to work pretty hard on him to get him ready, but he will get there.  We were teaching him about the Plan of Salvation and he was just loving it!  He loves the idea of the three different Kingdoms of Glory.  We also were talking about the importance of living what we know and why we can't just live in sin.  It was an interesting lesson, but a good one at that.
  We had an awesome miracle this week as well!  We received a Media Referral which comes from Salt Lake that some missionaries had ran into a guy that seemed really interested.  We went over to meet him, his name is Thomas.  As we pulled up to his house he was outside working on his yard.  We began talking to him and he was a really nice guy.  He asked us if we had a Book of Mormon that he could have to read.  We quickly gave him the one in our hand.  He was so grateful.  It was like we gave him the most precious gift anyone could give.  After we set up an appointment to come by on Saturday and left.  We went back and taught him the Restoration.  It was very spiritual and he just soaked all of it up.  After we asked him a question he told us that he has just been looking for truth and that's all he cares about.  He could care less what religion it is he is just looking for the truth.  We are very excited to continue to work with him.  
  We were also able to meet with Bino this week.  He didn't read what we committed him to so we read with him.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and about the importance of church.  It was a good lesson and we will be seeing him sometime this week and hopefully we can get him to church.  
  We also had stake conference this week.  They called a new Stake President and a new Counselor.  It was awesome.  There were two Seventies there and they both were able to speak.  One of them was Brother Corbridge.  He wrote a famous talk amongst missionaries called The Fourth Missionary.  It was a good conference and we all came away uplifted and edified.  We didn't have any of our investigators there because none of them wanted to drive from Cleveland to Kingwood to go to church.  
  I hope yall have a good week and have a good start to the Holidays:)
Elder Willden

These are pics of Elder Willden's and Elder Hunter's Halloween pumpkin carving this year:

This was an inside joke.  Every time Elder Hunter calls me dude I look over to the side and talk to my imaginary friend John and say, "Did you hear something John?  I think I did too."