Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

The booth up at the Roanoke star was a grand way to spend our Christmas evening, two people accepted Book of Mormon's who I genuinely believe will read them, but the biggest impact was simply the fact that we were there for 3 evenings before Christmas...many families took time to watch the video and it was wonderful to see parents teach their children the true meaning of Christmas, because of our presence there...many softened hearts and welcome thank you's from many people for going through the effort to be there and bring the spirit of Christ.

Today we, with the new Downtown Elders also hand delivered custom thank your cards to each of the city offices that were a part of making this happen and included the Zone Leaders phone number to contact us if the city ever requires our help. We are going to go ahead and reserve the Star for a booth again next year for Christmas and for the 4th of July and place it on the ward Calendar so all the elders will have to do next year is set-up and then reserve it again the year following.

We also found another new friend this week via media referral, I am very excited about and grateful for so far just this month 3 really solid friends have come from media referrals and working around referrals.

Also I went on an exchange to Bedford Va walking in Elder Davis' footsteps
Also got to teach one of their friends who is from Huntington
star topper for our booth at the Roanoke Star
Christmas Morning at the Hodge Home
Our Flat tire last night...our less-active friend S. was happy to help
thank you cards for the city.
that's all for this week...happy new year
Elder Wheeler

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Dearest All

It seems a long time in coming, but was joyful when our friend R.H. came to church and loved it, we have been teaching him for about two months, solid individual, he is currently a resident at the "Rescue Mission" Recovery Program, the ward frequently does service projects with this facility and was nice for the ward to see some fruits of their labors there as well, Brother H., first came in contact with church when he lived in Utah for a short while, when he got into the Recovery Program (something very similar to West Ridge Academy which my family is familiar with back in Utah) He asked the staff at the Rescue Mission if they knew of any Mormon missionaries in the area, to which thanks to the Ward the rescue mission was able to contact the Elders Quorum President and then refer us to him. 

He is originally from Huntington WV, which has been nice to have that connection with him having just served there. He once shared a journal entry (song) he wrote of his experience in Utah, it was powerful and pure, having progressed well in his program and arranging with his coach he is able to come to church with us, the D. family (Members - younger Married couple, recently moved back from BYU) Turned out to be excellent friends for him, excited for his continued progress and working with the Roanoke Rescue Mission more.

Also Brother C.M. (one of the ward's recent converts we are working with) received the Aaronic Priesthood this past Sunday, it was great to see Elder Mclune able to do that for one of his own coverts who was baptized shortly before I arrived in Roanoke.

The other big miracle was come Friday, the last day of Dickens of a Christmas, and as mentioned in my letter last week we were really struggling to get a booth for the final day...At last I called the zone Leaders on Friday morning to tell them I didn't think it was going to happen, but when we got off the phone, I just felt the spirit prompted to not give up just yet,.

So we knelt down to pray and brought our efforts to the Lord saying, "Heavenly Father we have put our very best effort to trying to bring 'A Savior is Born' to Roanoke and are at the end of our means, please help us if you want this to happen help us know the way" 

Pondering quietly for a moment the idea came to go down to the Downtown Roanoke office once again, so we went Downtown and came prepared having a proposal and photos of what we hoped to do to help convey our vision. The staff down their first of all was so grateful for the service the Zone had done the past two weeks with the various tasks they needed. When we asked it was like cutting butter this time, they put their heads together and with-in minutes had a space for us, it was miraculous, Heavenly Father really prepared the way, I feel at least in part to our efforts in faith to fulfill our purpose.
The Zone Leaders had to leave the event for a couple hours and asked me to oversee that everyone got to where they needed to be etc. which was grand and kept me happily busy that night. The booth went well we were set up right between the sledding hill and the stage, we were able to rotate nearly all the zone members through the different tasks and to manning the booth, and getting the opportunity to share it, the booth was particularly busy during the last hour of the event.

That is the gist of this week.

The following is a quote, which I particular enjoyed was impacted by from a letter a friend back at Marshall Sister Hh B. sent to me. She was a "rescue" during my time with Elder Davis in Huntington. She along with Brother P.N. (recent Convert who was baptized my last day in Huntington on November 14th), attended the Columbus OH temple on December 11th with their own family names with many others from the Mighty Mormon Herd. #GoHerd

"I think Christmas for me this year has really helped me to see the gift of the people who are in our lives. The people who we influence, and the people who influence us. Much like Jesus was sent by God to be an influence and example to all the Sons of Man and Son of God, we must do the same. I often think about how much better the world would be if we all just thought about how we impacted the lives of the people around us. If we could all be more like Jesus, like the primary song we all learned, to love our neighbors and serve our friends, how glorious the world would be." 
- Sister Hh B.


#ASaviorIsBorn Booth in Downtown Roanoke on the Corner of Market and Salem Ave. 
Elder McClune and I  with our turn at the top of the Sledding hill loading people and sending them off...it was a blast!

​Because Roanoke hasn't seen any snow yet this year...the city hired a company from North Carolina to make some snow...it was fun for all children and adults alike. Again felt a little like working at Lagoon again.

​All the Vinton Ward Missionaires, with our Ward Mission Leader Brother B. The Transfer also brought into the ward Elder Caldwell, (Bottom right) who came out with Elder Davis (two transfers after me)...it is very nice to have an lively "older missionary" in the ward. This was after we helped a new family move into the ward. (Note the License Plate)
(left to right: Elder Bosen, Brother Brevic, Elder McClune, Elder Wheeler, Elder Caldwell)


Wahoo, After nearly a month of searching and going through the processes of getting permission to set up our booth at the Roanoke Star...we as of 3 minutes ago have the permit in hand! So much work! As Elder Davis would say "Were official now boys!" 

A little bit of Downtown Roanoke...it really is a beautiful city, I learned that not only do they have street sweepers every night but they also have a crew that comes and sweeps the sidewalks etc. each night, not a piece of litter to be found, it really does add to the charm of the city.

Elder McClune got another round of "mail order meats" he is having a moment....haha

While we were with the Ward Clerk taking care of a few things the other Vinton Elders were posed like this, it was rather humorous, but I do like the Headline...Optimistic Outlook.

Wahooo...stoked! This took so much work! haha, but it will be much easier next time now.

Last I must give a enormous thank you so everyone who contributed to the Facebook Comment Testimony letter that I received in the mail today​, It was huge up-lifter for me, when it got it and started to read it earlier today I just sat at my desk soaking in the spirit and all the love, I simply sat there and cried, since getting to Roanoke I have been fighting off the thought that in someway I had failed in Huntington and was having a hard time keeping my spirits up between high points here in Roanoke, it was so good to read and feel the love and be reminded of impact of my mission, and to be uplifted by the very people I taught and knew in Parkersburg, Prestonsburg, and Huntington. You all really don't know what an impact it had and how important you are. I love you all and miss each of you in and out of the mission. 


That's All for this week
Love you
Elder Wheeler
-ART

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

Dearest All

We have been blessed by many Media referrals, (no doubt in part to the Christmas Initiative) many of them asking for a copy of The Book of Mormon, and other church media like Joy to the world...we have received one at least every two days and for the first time in my mission each one has been contacted with-in a day or two, (also being in the smallest geographical area I have ever served in helps that, and also means we have no excuse not to contact them with-in 24 hours) and we have 3 new investigators as a result, sincere investigators at that.

K.K, excellent man of faith, ordered a Bible and also welcomed The Book of Mormon, we taught him for the second time immediately following specialized training, feeling freshly spiritually sharpened and polished thanks to President Salisbury's wonderful instruction, certainly carried into this appointment, I was particularly astonished by Elder McClune's powerful teaching as we shared the Restoration with Brother K. We are teaching him again today he has already confirmed this appointment and kept in contact with us between these appointments, we are both every excited to see his progress.

W.T., we contacted and got the ever sought after "wow, that wasn't even 24 hours ago I did that" from this family when we arrived, we set up an appointment the next day, He was outside on the porch waiting for us upon arriving...at first I was skeptical of his sincerity, but he dug out his copy of the Book of Mormon he received years ago and had started reading it upon our second teaching appointment, and then the spiritual cogs began to turn and my hope for him shot through the roof the difference between the first and second teaching appointment was like night and day and I give full credit to power of the Book of Mormon.

Brother B. has also been a joy to visit, He is fabulous in keeping his commitments, and we prepare for our visits with him and the spirit without fail has been there as we teach this wonderful brother. One thing I must note was our hope for him to accept home teachers, which we previously asked him if we could bring his home teacher, to which he said no...now a month later, and 5 visits. We prayed that the spirit would soften his heart as we again extend this invitation to accept home teachers...At the end of the lesson I truly felt a genuine love for this man explaining we will be patient but as we come and go I so badly want him to have a good friend who can come and feel the spirit in his home and look forward to feeling the spirit there as I do...and when we asked the spirit just filled the room and joyfully truly joyfully he accepted and allowed us to bring Home Teachers with us in future visits. Heavenly Father truly did hear our prayer and powerfully sent the spirit upon our hope.


I am absolutely exhausted, soooo tired, but these moments are what keep me going through the thick...

These are the top I feel to mention, there are others as usual, just with not the time to type it all. In other news, Everything is going well for our booth up at the Roanoke Star....however in downtown despite our very best efforts to organize a booth for Dickens of Christmas, I just don't think we are going to be able to swing it this year...simply because we are late in the game, After getting approval from Downtown Roanoke INC. we went to the parking company, which was willing to arrange an agreement with us to use a parking space for the cost of 10$ each night at Dickens, however we needed to provide liability insurance. Working with staff in the Mission Office we obtained a copy of the church's insurance certificate for general liability for stuff like this, took it back to the parking company and they needed another form etc. etc. which there just simply won't be time to do I fear.

ON THAT NOTE...Dickens of a Christmas is a huge success, even with just our presence, however I ache a little at what could have been possible (probably mostly because next year I won't be a missionary and I will envy those who will get to wear the tag and represent the lord at His own celebration)...We have to be ON TOP OF THE GAME next year...to take full advantage of this incredible event....this past weekend there was and estimated 40,000 people present, it was huge. I wouldn't and haven't spared any effort to harvest as much as we can from this event. We are going to be doing a lot after Christmas to insure that missionaries next year can stand on our shoulders and do even more with this incredible event.

Roanoke Light-up tree ornaments
Dickens of a Christmas parade
Thank you to all who sent Christmas gifts.

​"Oh Holy Night the stars are brightly shining" Merry Christmas all...

Elder Wheeler
ART


Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

Dearest All

The two big highlights from the week

Civil Dealings - I was so pleased with the excitement from the ward when they learned of our booth up at the Roanoke Star, the bishop was especially excited and asked the ward to volunteer time to come and join us at the star, which 10 families signed up for various times to join us in sharing the Christmas Spirit with their fellow citizens of Roanoke.

At the beginning of the week we received permission from the Roanoke City Parks and Recreation Department to set up at the star...then a couple days later we received another phone call, informing us that we could not do that and proselyting in the parks was against the city's rules and ordinances. Confused I, thought that was strange and seemed a little off-color and limiting of the freedom of religion, so I took some time to read up on the freedom of religion in the public square on LDS.org and Mormon Newsroom. After learning a bit more about the topic and following the council from the prophet and various other apostles who all were in harmony in the message of "be civil" and "stand-up for these precious rights".

The next step we took was to learn the city's official policy so we went the city clerk's office, the staff was very helpful and pointed us to a city ordinance which in short said: We should be able to set-up a booth and express our views in public places in the city so long as we notify the city of our time and location we intend to be there. The city clerk recommended we see the city attorney to verify the interpretation of the ordinance. The city attorney was my favorite, very kind man and was a perfect help. We shared with him our full intentions and plans, and our concern. We told him we are happy to go through any permits and processes to get permission along with examples of similar events in previous cities in Kentucky and West Virginia.

The next day he called us and informed us that we would be able to proceed with our plans and directed us to the personnel we would need contact to get an assembly permit, (to be on the safe side since we intend to set-up a table and such) and also that regular proselytizing (walking-and-talking) is indeed permitted at anytime in the parks and city public spaces (sidewalks etc.) The city attorney was very pleased and mentioned his gratitude in our approach. He cleared everything up with the parks and recreation department mentioned he was grateful we do what we do.

Dickens of a Christmas - Smashing success, the Christmas spirit was well and alive and the people of Roanoke gladly welcomed us in brining the true meaning of Christmas to this incredible event, the night was full of singing and service, and countless opportunities to share the restored gospel many of which were captured. The zone leaders ended up being stuck in traffic and were an hour late and asked Elder Numbers and I (both former zone leaders) to get the zone organized and where we needed to be at the various tasks the city had. It was great to get everyone going, it felt like Lagoon again or Disneyland the streets were closed and the shops decorated it felt just like a theme park atmosphere, they even had a whole cast of actors in turn of the century clothes going around spreading Christmas cheer, with various acts and such.

We searched out the possibility of hosting our own A Savior is Born booth, but all the booth spaces were full and the retailers to busy to fit another group. However for next week we have two options we discovered that we will look into one is to rent a parking space (I noticed a hot dog stand who did something similar) in a lot right where the line for carriage rides forms and a good number of the zone was helping group people and assist in loading and unloading carriages and singing Christmas carols with the crowd in line (well over 100 people) then talking with the most noticeable participants which were usually families with small children between intervals. It would be a perfect fit, we will be getting in touch with the parking company this week to try to get this arranged.

Also we are gaining a teaching pool! I am so excited for C. and her husband, who were the worlds greatest media referral! Asking for a Book of Mormon, when we came to the door she said "I wanted to read it first to see if I want to join the church, I have met several Mormons and they are all so nice and happy" We shared short restoration lesson and she wanted to get right into reading so we arranged to follow-up next week...We are both praying fervently and all our hope for this young couple. So grateful for this referral and certainly feel blessed by it and this amazing opportunity and am so grateful for the members who were examples in living and sharing the gospel without words.

Love Elder Wheeler

Roanoke sights and Lights
Dickens of a Christmas...part 1 Dickens of a Christmas attracts thousands from all over the state and even into West Virginia...and is every Friday Night in December before Christmas.
The Carriage and Carol Crew
Sunset from a beautiful neighborhood up the road from us on Yellow Mountain, we tracted yesterday afternoon.

Our Christmas Card...This was Elder Bosen, Elder McClune, Elder Blake and I following the Christmas Devotional and Dinner at the Hodge Home.

Love yins
Elder Wheeler
-ART

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

Dearest All

It was a grand week, we worked hard and diligently, not all with ease either, which I suppose is why it was a great week, because it took work and even though we didn't see any immediate results (as I have been blessed by often over the course of my mission) I felt the spirit and simply that the Lord was pleased with our efforts and felt Preach My Gospel's measure of success more so than ever before, dedication.

It is has not been easy to stay motivated with my usual excitement in this area...Tuesday was proving to be my make or break point, we had a day full of plans and appointments resulting from the efforts of last weekend...then one by one every single one cancelled or rescheduled, turning to our back-up plans which was a finding effort or some sort...by 6:00 I was tired and a little down on myself, when we came in prepared and ate dinner and following the meal, and about to go out again & my heart was heavy, and sat down while waiting for my companion I looked up to the picture of the savior in our dining room and the spirit brought to my memory the words of a scripture I had read recently.

Alma 26:27
"27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

Encouraged by this whisper from the spirit, I pondered and remembered that The Savior and remembered him and brought sight that our afflictions are so small, I am so blessed with every luxury a missionary can enjoy. That doesn't mean our challenges aren't challenges but it certainly brought the perspective of how do-able they are.

We prepared to head out into the cool evening, blessed with heavy cozy coats and gloves, we prayed and walked around our wonderful high class neighborhood, instantly I felt better, full of hope and motivation, we did end up meeting two hopeful families that night (which we plan to see this evening, now back in town from their thanksgiving travel). However what I learned or rather reminded of most is that the Lord knows and he knows me, knows my heart...We put forth our best efforts in-spite of disappointments and I felt incredibly successful as a result simply because we were dedicated to doing what the lord wanted.

We kept that pattern and attitude through the rest of the week, and again on thanksgiving with no teaching appointments planned, we turned to the promise in the Missionary Handbook under Sundays and holidays

"On Sunday, spend as much time as possible proselyting. Sundays, Saturdays, and holidays are excellent opportunities for finding and teaching because many families are together and are at home."

So we planned a day full of primarily finding with one visit to a friend and another to less-active, we wanted to be tactful so not to be obnoxious to family dinners and such, but not just do nothing or overstay at a members home for our dinner that evening, we prayed that the Lord would help fill our evening with purpose...we set out again, armed with thanksgiving scriptures to share from the Book of Mormon. I just felt the motivation from the spirit and a few hours into our day about to move on from one finding activity to another...I looked back and saw a family outside playing a game with their children and just felt inclined to walk that way rather than head to the car...not having a clue of what do or say, right as I was about to talk to this family, a voice from behind us called out "Elders! Elders!"
Behind us was a woman by the name of R.F. in her car with her children...she explained she was a member from Philadelphia PA, in-town visiting her mother who is not a member of the church, she invited us for dinner to which we arranged to come for dessert following the dinner provided by our bishop and his family. She gave us the address, which ended up being kiddie-corner from our apartment...full of joy and excitement the rest of the day was easy, plans worked out and the day flew by...after dinner (to which the Bishop was happy to dismiss us early so we could go to this appointment), We arrived greeted by the member we met earlier and her husband and their 4 young children, happy to discover that their mother also was hosting their next door neighbors for thanksgiving,

The cherry on top was that the Husband was wearing a Marshall Shirt, and had attended UVU, and the wife was related to people I knew back in White Sulphur Springs our table conversation with the members sparked the conversation with the non-member neighbors to which the members explained and shared their conversion story (The wife joined when she was 17 or 18 and met her husband shortly after he returned from his mission).

It was grand but you get the picture, the end of it was that the Lord answered our prayers and the blessing came from applying one of the Lord's promises. We later visited the neighbors and the non-member mother again with a thank you card and "A savior is born" the neighbors were happy to see us again and I am extremely Hopeful about their potential! 

Everything is falling into place for the booth at the Roanoke Star, the final permission from the director of the park we should have tomorrow. The ward has provided all the supplies and again my excitement builds each time all the pieces come together, like many events in the past.

We are finding our tails off and also experiencing a tremendous success with 3 Less-active members (one of which is now a rescue) We are treating them just like a recent convert, meeting with them in member's homes and the spirit has been ever present in these returning lessons, particularly with Sister Dawson.

In fact in church this past week she came up to us after and told us that following our lesson with her the day before Her boyfriend who came outside for only a moment or two said later to her after we had left with tears in his eyes that he knew we were "called of God" and that he thinks that his mother is a member of the church in Mexico, A big answer to her prayers and humbling for Elder Mclune and I...feeling the spirit of that and letting it sink in, I sometimes forget how others see us when they feel the spirit, grateful to be a missionary.

Love
Elder Wheeler


Hope everyone enjoyed Star Cam...here it what it looked like from our end...we actually met someone who is learning about the gospel with the missionaries at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg while we were up here on Wednesday...almost without fail we have met members of the church and their families from all over up here at the star each time we come up here.
Fun fact I suppose...made in Roanoke since 1902

Turkeys deep frying in Downtown Roanoke on Thanksgiving, following the Drumstick dash 5k I love running, didn't run this race but I do live the atmosphere around the race.

Enjoying the last of the fall colors.​

Another member family from Tennessee came up to the star on thanksgiving, and I was pleased to see their Golden doodle.  ​​

​Thanksgiving dinner was very elegant at the bishop's home, Bishop Horchler and his family purchased this old plantation mansion from the city a couple years back and have been renovating it since...the inside is spectacular...and probably among the top 3 of my finest dining experiences ever.

​These are the F.'s...so much fun and the answer to our thanksgiving prayer as mentioned above...there were so many little details in this day that just let me know that the Lord loves me and knows what will make me happy, I imagine he enjoys seeing our joy in our reaction to the little things he arranges...

So we walked in and E. (the husband) was wearing the Marshall shirt that is over my shoulder...I said "no way did you go to Marshall" (it was the first bit of Marshall swag I have seen since I arrived in Roanoke) he said no "I just got this shirt at a thrift store for $1 in PA" but he did go to UVU to become a pilot...as the night went on conversation was very easy and their family is absolutely adorable. Before we left I said "now I have to get a photograph with you and that shirt"...and "he said do you want it?" Before I could answer he had changed and gave me the shirt...we all had a good laugh about it, but it really was touching as small as it was I really felt Heavenly Father's personal love for me, knowing how much I do miss Marshall, but am happy to be here in Roanoke too...small and silly some may say but it really was impactful and Heavenly Father went far beyond in an answer to our prayer.

Fits perfectly, Shout out to the HERD!

That's All this Week
Love yins
Elder Wheeler
-ART​​

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

The week has proven to be a enduring week but a rewarding one, I am happy with the results of a lot of hard work spent in planning and cleaning, we took a couple hours out of the day to do something to bring the area up to a higher standard, from cleaning out old records, deep cleaning a room in the apartment, deep cleaning the car and organizing supplies, and the Phone...by the weekend everything was tight, tidy and organized and I feel like I could take a deep breath and look back on what was accomplished.

Elder McClune said "If his former companion came back he wouldn't recognize the apartment"

With the area cleaned up and organized our days quickly got easier to plan and finding being the large emphasis, we found two promising new friends, to which I was over joyed and really raised my spirits!
This week has dawn me back to Preach My Gospel in seeking direction, and this week the spirit has really whispered to me more than ever before through PMG particularly in Chapter 9

A.H. - Mother in her 30's met her walking on the street near our apartment, (which by the way is located in an charming neighborhood, which reminds me of Lewisburg) Discovering that she works at a private school owned by members in the Salem ward, where many of her co-workers are members...by the end of the conversation she was smiling instead of scolding. Again super hopeful about her.

M. - A single 55 year old man, again met walking on the street taught him twice so far, and asked the question, "if you knew what we have taught you today is true, would you join that church?" He said the following in reply "I am going to find out by reading this book (The Book of Mormon)"

Last I will share two ideas that have surfaced in which I hope to apply the use of "A Savior is Born", in correlation with our ward mission leader and the Parks and Recreation department we are planning to do a small booth at the Roanoke Star on several evenings in December, where we will show the Christmas video and have free hot chocolate for the visitors to the star...the star seems fitting for the occasion...the genius I hope will come of this idea is that people come up to the star to make a short visit usually with groups, couples and families to take a photograph and take in the view from the over look, in the past couple days we have made it a finding activity to go up and offer to take a photo for them with their camera, this was usually enough to ask the question, "where are you from" or say "you have a great family" which sparks up a conversion which shortly will lead to an invitation to learn more about the gospel and teach.

We also are going to meet with the Chaplin at the Carillon Hospital near our apartment to present " A savior is born" and see in what way it can bless the lives of those at this very large Hospital.

these and a few other ideas I am excited about, applying what I learned and experienced last Christmas in Prestonsburg KY, and overall am very excited about Christmas.

Love
Elder Wheeler

bathroom before
Inline image 1
After...I think I coped with this transfer with cleaning...I overall feel so much better. 
Bathroom after...the rest of the house followed suit...lots of bleach, elbow grease, and Team work
​Carillon Tower near our apartment this is just one building on a very large medical campus, they are also about to build another 15 story tower right next to this one.

Downtown Roanoke
​The white star...the colors that you saw last week are only on holidays and memorials, last week was because of the attacks in Paris.
​Here is something fun for everyone, we will be on the star overlook talking to people again this week on Wednesday November 25th at 4:30-ish Eastern Time go the website on the sign and we will wave.
That is all for this week
Love you all
Elder Wheeler
-ART

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015


​This was a week full of travel and conferences, this was us stuck in Traffic with the Hazard Elders on I-64 took 45 min to go 0.8 miles...but we made it, most of the zone was stuck in it with us, it made for a great time on the way though.

The reason for our travel to Charleston was our mission conference with Elder Kopishca (I am sure I spelled that wrong, it is a German name)...Super incredible conference...then we went back to Huntington, taught S. and then went back to Charleston the next morning for a special Mission Leadership Conference with Elder Kopishca again. Spiritual overload...so tired by the end of it.
Sheetz for dinner with Hazard Elders...Elder Taylor and Elder Crook...considering their area is 3 hours from Huntington and 4 from Charleston we brought the Hazard Elders up early the night before the conference to stay with us.

​Seeing some familiar faces at the conference...it was so strange not to see my friends. Elder Myers, Elder Cluff, Elder Thompson, Elder Ostler, Elder Chevelier...miss you all...but I did get to spend some time with my younger missionary friends like Elder Tupou...who is now in the Huntington zone in Ashland KY 

​Shortly after arriving back in Huntington on Friday, President Salisbury called while we were practicing for a special musical number, with PJ, M. and Hh in preparation for P.N.'s baptism...He asked me to switch places with a missionary in Roanoke VA, my heart dropped and stayed there...I absolutely love Huntington and Marshall and all my friends there...without hesitation I say it was harder to leave Huntington on such short notice than it was to leave for the MTC...we had a little over 24 hours before I had to leave.
We broke the news to our little Herd...I was brought to many tears over the next day, I just didn't want to go, but a instrument in the Lord's hand goes were he is told. 

As we finished up teaching J. one last time on Friday night, S. spoke and told me some things I will not soon forget, mentioning how much his life has been touched and blessed by my service, mentioning how genuine it all has been, "you can't sell Christ but you can show him and you did that"

I really won't be able to capture the spirit felt in that last day at Marshall with words.

​WE ARE!


​Many powerful spirit filled lessons and strong friendships forged here in the Drinko Library

​There is a bit of an inside Joke here, and the "Elder Marshall" quote on the board is one from J. herself...I really miss her and all the rest.

​Upon conclusion of the very busy evening we all took to Pullman square for one more meal all together, at Pullman Square.
This was a happy peaceful night...with friends who will all meet again in the not to distant future. 
J. had to go the eastern Kentucky University for the weekend so we said our parting words and testimony...that simply "I know that this church will bless your life more than anything else because it is His church" J. has come so far so fast...and she will continue to...see you again soon.

​Parking Garage selfie...

​The next morning was a fitting final day, with the 1970 plane crash anniversary memorial and Brother N's baptism...could not have asked for a more beautiful day for the occasion.

​The Previous night we had to move Elder Marshall (the chalkboard) a little ways from the student center with anticipation a large crowd, everything came together perfectly, the quote from J. fit the occasion and a couple thousand people attended and walked right past the sign en-route for the fountain from the parking garage, some even stopped to take photographs with "Elder Marshall"

​The design of the memorial fountain symbolizes falling and rising...I am sure many of you know the story of "We are Marshall"...which is more than just the movie it really is the spirit of the school and Huntington...It was incredible to able to a part of the Marshall family and feel the unity in cause and hope...the 1970 crash did more than re-build a football team it brought out the human family in Huntington and continues to serve as a reminder of what is possible in the sight of adversity and  the joy of the accomplishment that follows. The ceremony was moving and motivating.

The tradition is the Silencing of the fountain​...as the 75 names who perished in the crash are read...there were many excellent speakers and prayer...it felt a little like a BYU devotional. It was silent...and Huntington is never silent...but it was for this moment...and ended with one very earth rumbling WE ARE...MARSHALL!

​I was able to teach the N's family one last time and the great news to finish off with them is that Christian (there infant boy) came home after nearly two months in the NICU. This is one Happy family with eternal goals in the sights.

​As the hour of my departure my heart just kept pounding with mixed emotions, the joyful occasion of P.N.'s baptism and the difficulty of leaving...I am excited to be in Roanoke but every area just gets harder and harder to leave. The assistants were coming to make the transfer just after the baptism.

​P.N.s Baptism was wonderful and again a great sense of joy for him and also the YSA's and the K Family, who have been member missionaries since P's childhood, who came from P's hometown to be here and was baptized by their son J. President and Sister Salisbury even came to the Baptism.

​After the baptism and P.N. was off to dinner with the K. Family, we were able to exchange some heartfelt words...and said farewell, I know he will go so far and will be a sharp sword in the Lord's hand...Elder Andersen and I were able to spend a little while longer with PJ, M. and Hh. 

I read a few passages from  Alma 17...this chapter as just absolutely come alive for me in my mission, I love being a missionary, it is the greatest thing I have ever done in my life, I love the spirit I feel and the love I gain from these great friends through my mission and watching the spirit work in each of their lives as it has for me and will again and again. The growth and spirit at Marshall and Huntington has increased dramatically in the time we have been there together. 


 10 And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.
 11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the [The HERD], thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
 12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the [The Mormon Herd], and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the [The HERD] to declare unto them the word of God.
 13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.

The spirit was very strong with our last few minutes together, I felt the love and joy of all that has happened in the short 4 months, none of us is the same from when we all met each other, each of us has grown and I know the lord was behind it all. After a few more tears I boarded the Van and headed south, (hardest thing I have done in my mission yet)...for a long drive to the one part of the mission that I haven't been to yet. 
A few familiar places seen along the way.
passing through Beckley 

​Blurry...yes, but if you could read it you would see us slipping through Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs at 9:00 Saturday...I said a short prayer for all my friends in Lewisburg, The G.'s, The B.'s, The L.'s, The Glk.s, The B.'s and a few others...miss you all too.

​First impressions of Roanoke...it is the largest city in the mission and very clean, new and crisp, so much new construction it is just a thriving city...also big...did I mention big...this is the hospital that we live up the road from just out of downtown Roanoke, the city is settled in a valley surrounded by some hills that can actually almost call themselves mountains...it feels and reminds me of Salt Lake City. Not to mention there are 6 or 7 wards in the valley or near by...my area is tiny in comparison to everywhere else I have been.  
Our trip up to the Star last night on our way in...Roanoke is "The Star City" There is a giant neon Star on the hilltop that overlooks the city.

​Roanoke down below.

​That is all for this week...I miss Huntington Dearly, I move forward with excitement here in Roanoke...this city is Alive and well, president Salisbury gave me a few instructions in a hopes to accomplish much down here...so with that...let's get to work.

Love You All
ART
Elder Wheeler