Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

Dearest All

All is well, all is well...First and for most, I am happy and grateful to have again made contact with Che, thanks to our wonderful members of the Parkersburg Ward, that invited and welcomed Che to women's conference and to Sacrament meeting the next day. Where she talked with us, at first she was very brief with us, but by the end of the block she had agreed to a dinner appointment in a member's home...later when we arrived at the members home, Che was no where to be found, rather we soon learned that she was in the E.R. because she had been stepped on by a horse and had broken her collar bone! Incredible story, she had to walk across 25 acres to her car, then drive from Mineral Wells to Downtown Parkersburg and admitted herself, to which she said "I was doing a lot of praying"...We went to her home after she was released from the hospital and brought her dinner and the member who came with gave her a priesthood blessing. This was the moment when i really saw the scope of her strength and the trials she has faced and how well she has endured them, She has even successfully lived without electricity for 5 months, as i walked into her home holding a flashlight to see down the clean but dark halls and guestrooms with no guests or any company in sight, she does this day in and day out alone in the quiet...she is humble but incredibly independent and strong, even refusing help or assistance determined not to be a burden. However i think this last trial of her faith has lead her to a open heart and reception to assistance....Hold on I literally just got off the phone with Che, who told me that she has felt so loved and cared for especially since sister sheets (relief society president) just called her to check up on her and bore her testimony of the spirit she felt during women's conference...heavenly father brings us low sometimes...so then he can lift us higher. 

During Sacrament Meeting this last week as I sat next to three of our investigators, I felt prompted to read D&C 4 and as the sacrament was passed I really felt a personally humbling lesson as the spirit taught me, "REMEMBER; faith, hope, charity and love...with an eye single (only focused on) to the GLORY of GOD" that really reminded me that this work is not mine and NONE of the glory for the success we have been blessed to participate in belongs to me...none of it...surely a gentle but nevertheless direct correction and instruction from Heavenly Father, as we set out to continue to and maintain and strengthen the success that has come forth here in Parkersburg. 

How exciting it is to have set a goal in our weekly plans for one Baptism, it is Baptism Week! for Cody Collins and it will be the first baptism for both Elder Myers and I, we have arranged for a member of the ward to perform the ordinance for Cody, Cody is excited and ready! The invitations are out and the ward is all-hands on deck, This week will surely prove to be a exciting and joyful conference weekend, Cody will be baptized at 2:30 between General Conference sessions. 

Vicki also attended women's conference and this week marks her 10th week at Church, now working on baptism on December 1st, she really has nothing major holding her back, only her own personal preparation, she recognized the covenant and desires for that covenant...she will be and is a truly a faithful member of the church and we are even contemplating working with our new bishop brick on arranging a calling for Vicki. 

This week was a bit of a struggle for finding, or perhaps we only finding more elect individuals, to reload, especially as Cody will be baptized by the end of the week and we move to re-load our teaching pool and progressing investigators we do have a number of promising referrals upcoming this week are hoping with faith to be able to continue to find, despite our weekend being occupied with general conference and Cody's baptism, and Elder Myers is falling ill to whatever bug I had a week ago and seems to be going around town. so we will be pushing and using every moment of valuable time we will get this week to find, find, find! 


A personal note, to everyone who reads this...that we are a questioning people, we invite people to questioning, question the gospel, we do not fear questioning...for we know that it is by sincere questioning, not proving but seeking, with a desire to know what is true that truth is found...and truth is known...faith is not having a perfect understanding but trust that the Heavenly Father will guide us to what we need to know and what will make us most happy.

Know that sometimes the lord brings us low (usually to rid us of our earthly desires, understanding or things that we rely on) so that he can bring us higher (and we can learn to rely on him). 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

I love you all and this is my testimony that I know that the gospel which I have been called to preach by a living prophet of God is true and is a plan a happiness that it is higher than my ways or the ways of any man, but as I have turned my ways to his ways I have become happier and I believe will lead me to my greatest happiness. So I invite you all to exercise faith and ask daily, strengthen your testimony daily, get out of your comfort zone, act on a prompting, do something hard, do something which you do know know what the exact outcome will be...do something that will require you to trust in the lord. and just watch what god has in store for you....and remember that God gives no commandments to us unless he will provide a way for us each individually to accomplish those things which he asks and commands of us. Trust him and he will make you something so much more, beyond our own comprehension.
Love from West Virginia
Elder Wheeler
-ART

Elder Myers and I at the Smoot Theater (google earth it), we got a personal tour and helped set up for their choir practice, plus some members are in choir and made some great connections the part of me that loves the 1920's was in absolute heaven. 

 In the dressing rooms under the stage
 two stories below the street in the boiler room...total real life tower of terror feel so cool! 
 ​A Bit of West Virginia for all of ya'll...the photos do not do how beautiful it is out in the "mountains" here right now the colors are nothing short of spectacular
 ​I had to share this....yes this is news here! it is grand...I truly do love West Virginia.
What day is it....HUMP DAAAAY! Happy Hump day Elder Myers
 Cody & Vicki at Buffalo Wild Wings with us Celebrating Elder Myers Hump Day (September 25th) He is Halfway through his mission...BWW!!!!
 At Volcano days at Mountwood park, on the very outskirts of our area, the Autumn leaves are the beautiful out here in the hollars. Volcano was an oil town in 1885 at one point was the one of the largest cities in West Viginia at the time of 2,800 people or so and in 1906 the entire town burned to the ground and there is only one foundation of the town left....it was way cool and a very "west Virginian event"

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

What a wonderful spiritual week! (even though I spent the first 3 days of the week ill in bed with a 100 degree fever. I caught a nasty bug that everyone out here refers to as the "Ohio Valley Crud"....However, between, my encouraging conversation with president Salisbury at speciallized training, and a few letters I received over the week from home (thanks Mom, dad, pops and mamajo), along with an absolutely inspired ward conference, I feel closer to the savior and have really feel the charity and love of the savior and felt the spirit present in our teaching, particularly in my own testimony...plus the changing of the seasons, has me in an all around grand mood (there are so many trees out here and they are all turning orange it is beautiful, plus the air is cooler and it hasn't been humid in at least 3 weeks!)...I feel renewed and stronger, really I feel victorious. 

I think I also experienced how, a parent feels and just a bit of how heavenly Father feels about each of his children when they blame him for something...After specialized training we came back up into Parkersburg and set out to work with Che, but could not find or contact her, and she didn't come to church this week either, but on Sunday night we were having dinner with a member and Che called the member while we were there, so we were able to get the report on the last 4 days that we had been out of touch...she had felt that she didn't get the credit she felt that she deserved for her efforts to quit smoking and so she said that she "smoked six cigarettes to spite me"...granted I really didn't give her the attention or the praise that she deserved, much of which i credit to being super sick while we were teaching her...While all I could really think of was how we could better help her and I was so excited to come back up and share with her a video President Salisbury gave to us along with some advice he gave to us. We were ready to work at her pace and help her...but I imagine that is how heavenly father feels when I turn away or disobey him, when he is always trying to reach out and sometimes I blame him or turn away from him, when he only wants to help and love me...but unfortunately her friend in Idaho recommended to her that she stop meeting with missionaries and just attend church and let the ward take over...so it may be some time until Che will allow us back into a teaching situation.

But in other news, Cody has just about completed all the missionary lessons from Preach my Gospel, and his baptism is all planned, we recommended a member of the ward, perform the baptism and he asked Brother E, (the member he has become great friends with)...not to mention he has just been tearing through, the Gospel Library App, reaching all of Alma, and he has found a particular interest in the doctrine and covenants, so much so that he has read, sections 1-51! We are working on getting him set up at the institute at Marietta college. He has so many perfect questions and comments in church. October 4th can't come soon enough for him. He committed and is living tithing, Law of chastity and word of wisdom this week...his only hang up was tea...to which he said "well I guess I better just trust god...no more tea for me"

Vicki, set a date at long last, December 1st...this lesson was wonderful, she was surrounded by some children in the ward, on a cool evening, outside on the deck of a members home, we had just watched the "50 inspiring words" that President Salisbury gave to us, which invited the spirit so perfectly, and then we read D&C 20:37...she saw the changes that she has made and her desire to not only live it and "emulate" the teachings of the gospel but also to share it with her family, it was so wonderful and one of the best if not the best moment of my mission to date! Heavenly father's love could surely be felt by all present and it was the grand conclusion to our week...we were also able to teach Vicki's daughter and son-in-law the restoration. 

We have a lot more going on of which I am very excited about, including a family of four (with two teenage daughters) who have go back clear to April, asked to come to church and mutual this coming week, and another young single adult who is talking on investigation of the church...relating it to how "it took 4 years for Joseph Smith to get the Plates...just because I haven't received my answer yet doesn't mean it wont happen"

Love
Elder Wheeler

ART
 ​We also got out in the Hollar's this week with a member (brother brown) to go contact some referals given to us by Vicki Wilder...WV sunset...almost heaven
 ​This one is for my mom...I think she will get a kick out of this goofy photo..."I have some business with Elder Myers"
 Sick days...I was actually on a two-day exchange with Elder Chevelier (from Ravenswood)...so lucky for Elder Myers he missed most of me being sick, we still managed to keep a few of our appointments with our top investigators, but a lot of the first part of the week was spent sleeping...it was NOT FUN! but I do owe Elder Chevelier a huge thank you! He was the absolute best! we did play a few board games to past the time...I do think that it is also incredible how the lord still provides a way for us to  reach all of our goals for the week, in the four productive days we had left! Goals set in faith are always achievable despite unforeseen circumstances, if was also act in faith!
 ​At Specialized training this week, I also experienced how exciting it is to see a former companion again...This is Elder Carter...MY MTC COMP! We walked in and saw each other and in sync screamed and ran to each other to give each other a big old hug and then catch up...we haven't seen each other since the day we arrived in the mission field.
love ya Elder Carter!



Mom and Dad

Ah, well as the work gets more and more exciting and promising here in the WVCM, the less time I am finding to write let alone compose my thoughts to share...Never the less, if there is one thing I need to improve on it is writing in my journal a more complete account of the days adventures and experiences, because ...why write about it when I could be out finding more...haha jk, that is just my lame excuse...because I am so tired at the end of the day, It seems like I have all sorts of energy right up till 10:00...then the holy ghost goes to bed and we go with it.

So aside from our awesome investigators and the experiences I have shared in my main stream letter. I wanted to let you know how I am doing;

This week I had the opportunity to go on a short exchange with a brand new elder (Elder Numbers) in Marietta Ohio, while Elder Myers and Elder Cox (the District Leaders) had a meeting with the Zone Leaders.

Elder Numbers had been out in the mission field for 3 days! A fresh of the plane Greenie! So he and I had about two hours to go and walk around Marietta and work in the area, Marietta is a very nice, very historic city about 30 min north of Parkersburg, with huge trees and a rather large college campus, so we walked the streets by the campus and talked with a few people and three interactions were notable to me, 

1 - A woman in her mid-twenties who was carrying Flowers and walked past us.

2 - A teenage boy who attended the Church of Christ

3- An elderly man in his late 70's

in each case, they had a different concern and interest in the gospel, and as I worked with Elder Numbers I noticed and had a big flash back to my first week of my mission, as I saw elder numbers observe and look to me for what to say and how to answer each person's questions, as I quoted scriptures and taught about the restoration, the Blue print of the Church, Family History, etc. on the spot. I saw, how much the mission has changed me and how much I have learned and progressed as a missionary...then as we walked back to meet the other elders...Elder Numbers asked me the same questions I had asked on my first exchange...I offered him my advice, which was really and simply to loose yourself, observe and love other missionaries and it will be like a sponge in a pond, we absorb the missionary life and its funny how we don't really notice an "all-of-a-sudden change...to now I am missionary" but rather it comes bit by bit and every elder's teaching and experience is different and unique but heavenly father uses our different and unique traits and personalities to preach his gospel, incredibly effectively! I have noticed again and again, that the lord continues to raise the bar on us, I am never done learning, but it is neat to see how far come and improve...to really be myself but I see how the lord has helped me become more of my best self.

Saturday night was a grand night for Elder Myers and I, We were on cloud nine, after attending a baptism with Cody and having dinner with another one of our investigators, it was sunset about 7:00on a cool evening, Elder Myers and I walked in our lovely downtown, where there was a fine dinning event happening and a good number of people we were able to meet and talk with, we were still in our suits and fit right in to the party...at the Blennerhasset Hotel, I felt like I had gone back in time to the 1920s with all the fancy dresses and such...but as I took a deep breath and just looked around I saw how lucky I am to be here in parkersburg and be with elder myers and have all my family and friends to love and support me...I prayed gratitude to heavenly father as we walked on and home.

love you 
-ARt

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Dearest All

What a wonderful week, this is the 4th week out of 7 weeks that Elder Myers and I have reached the standard of excellence! We have been blessed with three incredibly converted progressing investigators...I was speaking with a member of our ward (Sister H), who mentioned that, it is incredible, how many investigators where at church - 6 and two LA between the three areas that this ward reaches, 3 of which were our investigators....She mentioned that in relief society they have been tailoring their lessons to investigators more, since there have been a consistent amount of progressing investigators. 

This week as I really want to again testify that there are indeed people who "Do not know the truth, only because they know not where to find it"...I believe I briefly mentioned Cody in last week's letter, he is 21, young single adult, with his own apartment. we have met with Cody four times this week, 5 if you include church, We taught him The Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and The Gospel of Jesus Christ...well in reality he taught himself, he has rejoiced as we taught each of these lessons not only agreeing but testifying and sharing his experiences he has been plowing right through The Book of Mormon! Plus we watched Prophet of the restoration, and he attended a baptism service...He is excited and beyond happy! At church this week he introduced himself to just about everyone! Cody is committed to be baptized on October 4th between sessions of general conference...I cannot express how prepared Cody is! After the baptism service we attend with him, we went back to his apartment, where he told us how he has been working to improve and change, overcome doubts for the last two years and find his faith, and now baptism he says is only the beginning to him, putting it in concrete with Heavenly Father. (he taught himself the meaning of baptism by the way, we didn't have to say a thing)...Both elder Myers and I have had to pick up our jaws from floor after every lesson with him! He is Awesome! Not to mention he only lives a block from our apartment. oh yea and he has been spending his spare time on Mormon channel, loading up on Mormon messages etc. 
Plus he is a super cool Avatar and Marvel fan! 

Cody - "I am so glad to have finally found two other guys who believe what I believe"
Elder Wheeler & Elder Myers - "Yes! us three and 15 million Mormons!"

Vicky, Continues to Excel in her progression this was her 7th week at Church, and is eager to send us to her friends and family, Her daughter (Page) is coming into town this week and we hope to have a positive interaction with her and her husband, who are expecting their first child in the coming months. Vicki continues to prove to be a dry Mormon, I think she has met with every member of the ward, no to mention she has two active-member families as neighbors with-in a block of her home...she has truly become a member of the ward, and her conversion and testimony are growing ever more present and predominant...I have high hopes for her to feel ready to commit to a baptism date following General Conference. 

Che, Has quit smoking and is working on coffee, she has cut in half the amount of coffee she has drank in the last week, She truly wants to be baptized and is working her tail off to be ready, this was her second week at church and has jumped right on board with ward activities and making friends in the ward.

Plus we have found 3 new investigators this week and a number of promising potentials and the turn of the weather to cooler fall temperatures has significantly improved the endurance factor of Elder Myers and I on our bikes, the leaves are turning Orange and it is harvest time in the lords vineyard of North Parkersburg.

Love
-Elder Wheeler
ART

 Elder Myers and me in Downtown Parkersburg on Saturday night at the Blennerhasset Hotel.
 Vicki with Elder Meyers and me after church on Sunday
Cody with Elder Myers and me after church on Sunday

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

Dearest all

I am staying in Parkersburg Whooo :)

Transfer #4, I am so excited to have another transfer here in Parkersburg, going on 6 months! I really can't believe how fast time has gone, and how much I have seen this area grow. With the changes in the zone and district, I look forward to what the lord has in store for us here. 

The last week was grand in a number of ways, we have been striving to reach the standard of excellence again before last Transfer was ended and by-golly we slid in by the skin of our teeth, with just one ITL to spare, and a manna from, heaven miracle:

This past Sunday, we showed up to church, excited and anticipating an entire investigator family attend, but unfortunately the mother of that family was called into work and they didn't make it...but never the less the lord answered our prayers and placed into our trust, Che! I was standing outside, greeting ward members and investigators at the doors of the meeting house, when one of our members (sister sheets) came running out and said "I need a North-side Missionary! There is an investigator here!" I perked up, said "that's us!" and answered the call...Elder Myers followed suit and sister S took us down the hall to introduce us to Che...who to our surprise knew no-one in the ward and had never been to church in WV before, but she worked up the courage and came church all by-her-self...Sacrament meeting began shortly after, and I sat next to Che and Vicki (our other investigator who attended this week)...Che told me that she had taken the missionary discussions before some odd 16-20 years ago when she lived in Idaho, (its so strange to think that is was 1-4 years old, when she originally was investigating the church)...She said that she had recently had surgery and when she was recovering, she was having a hard time and she called her friend in Idaho, and her friend simply told her that "it is time for you to get baptized"...she prayed and then looked up in the sky and said that she saw Christ in the clouds and a prophet, and felt that it was indeed time for her be baptized...she came to Church and said to sister S "I want to be baptized" and since then, sat down with us and we set a date, for September 27th and have so far reviewed the Restoration, Word of Wisdom, and Plan of Salvation, not to mention, began her family history work ...she has flown through the lessons so far with Flying colors and her testimony is like a rocket soaring for the stars! 

In other news, we worked with elder Beeman, and our land lord to repair and update our apartment, (which has been a missionary apartment for 10 years) we repaired the drywall and prepped for the landlord to come in and paint, in addition we are expecting new carpet in the coming week...In addition to our new bicycles that were transferred to us from Vienna (which closed this transfer)...We have certainly been appreciating these blessing from the lord and have made the work here, more organized, comfortable and effective.

Also Family history has taken off with our investigators! I am so excited to learn more about how to used family history at specialized training next week, because our investigators have been highly engaged in finding their family history, not to mention it is a great interaction between investigators and members at the family history center.

Vicki, is also still awesome as always, she is to put it plainly now at this point a "Dry Mormon"...I look forward to the day, when she too, says, Okay I am ready to be baptized, but till then I will be her ever patient missionary. 

love
-Elder Wheeler
ART
 
 West Virginia sunset, over the Ohio River...heavenly Father answers prayers, we only need to...listen, look and be prepared and willing to act, without stubbornness of heart  


Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

Member present lessons have fallen to just 3 last week with only 5 other lessons. I think a lot of which is due in part to the school year beginning, and our wonderful members have been a bit more consumed in their schedules...however since the school year began we have had a completely full dinner calendar (and are trying to get investigators to dinner with us), which I am excited about and have seen a new kind of member involvement, reaching out for inspired referrals which we discussed at our last zone conference, and without fail every time a name has almost immediately come to mind, but rather then get their contact information and "drop-in" on the referral, we then taught an interactive lesson about ITL's with five points of an ideal ITL "dinner and a show" per-say as we role play the following process, elder Myers and I are quite entertaining, if I do say so myself, and always get a few laughs mingled in among the spirit.

1 - Connect (members already have that advantage) 2 - Ask and inspired question (generally tailored the principles of the gospel that have blessed their own life, and why that person's name came up in the first place) 3 - Teach and Testify, 4 - invite 5 - schedule (it would be an honor if you would be willing to come to my home and learn more etc etc.) I am 
This area is alive and we are finding numerous prepared individuals, who ask all those golden, elect questions...particularity Vicky, who has now reached out to begin sharing the gospel with her family and her sister just happens to have life-long friends who have been members since 1991...in church, this last Sunday, when we introduced Vicky to The Pools (the members), Brother pool came up to me, and with tears in his eyes said "thank you" they had been waiting and hoping and I am sure praying for a means to share the gospel with Vickie's sister and her family, in fact sister pool has had a Book Of Mormon with Rita (vicki's sister) name on it for over a year...The lord truly does prepare people to receive the gospel and I am so grateful to witness the gratitude of the pools, who after decades of friendship are now beginning to see the gospel reach their friends and to see their excitement for what happens next. 

In other news one of our investigator couples, became an investigator family this week, with the birth of their twins, it was wonderful to be invited to visit with them in the hospital both days they were there and witness the joy and happiness that their birth has brought to this investigator who I met on day 3 of my mission. 

I could not have asked for a better companion, this transfer has simply flown by and we have not had even close to a single disagreement, he is wonderful and someone I hope and plan on keeping as a lifelong friend. If there is one word I had to describe Elder Myers I would simply use "pure" he is one of the lords finest missionaries, and he knows the scriptures, and I owe him so much, for the insight into how to sharpen my own use of the scriptures in our teaching.

Love The Mountaineer
-Elder Wheeler
ART
Holding Allethiea, not even a day old:)  "allethiea" means truth, I told Brandon (her father and my longest investigator) "you finally found truth"
I love their family, and am so grateful to have become their friends.