Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

Dearest All

We have been working hard this week to reach and teach the impressive load of new investigators from the Ronceverete River Festival this past week. I am over joyed to report that 5 of those investigators have turned into progressing or will shortly be progressing. I cannot talk about each but these are some I must mention.

The Gn Family - Family with six children their third oldest son met us at the festival and invited us to his home to teach him, on our second visit with him (which was unscheduled and following a prompting of the spirit in doing so) To discover his entire family home and his dad was immediately interested in what we had to say, we read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with them and followed it up with a simple and precise restoration lesson, they are between churches, have met with missionaries before and are EXCITED to learn about the Plan of Salvation tonight and you know president we were excited in teaching and we let them see that we are excited just like you have been reminding us to do and it made the lesson great! We will be teaching this family again tonight - This is Always finding, Always teaching

A. M. - YSA aged engaged college student, Also found at the festival...ELECT so elect it is almost overwhelming! We have now had three lessons with her (one of which was in a members home), invited her to be baptized and she would have been at church had her mother not had a stroke Sunday morning. she is plowing right through the Book of Mormon and her comments and hopes are spot on in applying Moroni's promise...this girl will be baptized! 

The U. Family - Young Medical student family, came to church my first week here, knows great active members, they came up to us at the festival and had their questions answered that I think they were shy to ask their member friends. They invited us for dinner with their member friends...later this week we learned that they were moving (via their member friends) and offered our service to help them move...this was the greatest opportunity! They eagerly accepted our help and with the members we moved them to their new apartment in Lewisburg and over lunch taught the plan of salvation, which each time they had a great question, we let the members answer. It was awesome, we will see them at church soon...oh they are also expecting their first born in November...again prepared and elect!

The H. Family - You know when you feel like it can't get any better...then it does! I have been so overwhelmed and joyful in really seeing that the ELECT ARE EVERYWHERE! We have new neighbors who moved in about a month or so ago, (young family one son who is 1 or 2, works for the Greenbrier as a golf professional) they were outside on the lawn playing with their kids and we talked to them and he didn't know much about us missionaries or Mormons at all, we had a great conversation really it was just being a good neighbor, let them know that if they need anything to ask us...well the need came two days later in the form a Flat tire...Mrs. H. (wife and mother) knocked on our door right as we were putting on our shoes to head out and we quickly hopped to work replacing the tire for her, since her husband was on a work trip an hour away, he told her to knock on our door. over the next hour she asked us all sorts of great questions and after we got her on her way, she and her husband offered to take us to dinner on Monday (yesterday) which was so great, they took us to Applebee's and swapped stories, talked about our families, and the Book of Mormon and learned so much about each other and they welcomed us to come share our message with them. Needless to say we have great neighbors and when we arrived home we were literally jumping and shouting for joy! Falling to our knees in gratitude, I wish you could have seen us this is what missionaries dream of! Mr. H. is also setting us up with day passes to the Greenbriar Classic and is going to come play Basketball with us and the Med Students.

About being creative...creative doesn't always need to be a big project and really more often then naught should be simple...for example we knew some great fathers among our investigators and had some brownie mix we made (from a left over box from the chocolate festival) grabbed some family proclamations and set out to see these investigators and each let us in to share a brief message about the importance of fathers and with the H. family we were able to show them "Earthly Father Heavenly Father" on their tablet and pray with their family. 

This area is was great before but with hard work it was become a Preach My Gospel dream AREA! I love it, I love it, I love it...Even when it gets yesterday, we weren't having the greatest afternoon, and we were getting tired, it was hot etc etc....we are so spoiled we have zero room to complain...but at 5:30 we decided that the crappy day ends now and that we were going to make it great and It did! We came up with the fathers day idea and then when we finished we followed the spirit (oh how great it is to have this guiding companion)...and found another great potential at 8:30 and taught him till 8:58...full of joy and excitement, when we apply the lords promises, follow the spirit...miracle after miracle happens. 

The G's continue to Progress...they arrived back on Saturday from vacation...Sister G. continues to progress, reading, praying and coming to church, living the word of wisdom, even fasting...we only need to wait and hope for her husband...we are working to help her continue to progress and act in faith in the mean time.

Well as you can see I suck at short letters, I hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed writing it...the Alderson 4th of JulyCelebration is coming up, it has had me really made me thinking about how we can do it again, and raise the bar and do it even more the lords way, It was great last time, very purpose driven creativity within the reach of Preach My Gospel and the White handbook but there are areas we can make it even simply asking the lord how he wants us to do it. Any ideas anyone?

Last of all we had a great district meeting, focused on Chapter 4 of PMG Relying on and recognizing the spirit... went well and the district meeting was inspiring and the lunch afterwards, was quick and didn't distract from the spirit and what we had just learned, which was a concern of mine about having fun without being casual and I am happy to report that I feel each missionary left the lunch with just as much presence of the spirit as we had right after we finished the meeting.

Photo Time

The Tire Changing Adventure...Brought me back to my summer on the Road with Creighton working for Maxxis, it came in handy.
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Elder Tupou makes this face a lot...I think it means "yea this is really happening"

​On Another note, I received my True WVCM missionary stamp...and got my first piece of road kill...there is a funny story with some events leading up to this, but in short I know that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor and the rabbit ran out in front and it was to late...

​Had to pose...Thought that mom would appreciate this. The member with us is a priest named K., we hit it on the road to his house

​See...there is that face again, haha love ya Elder Tupou.

More in Part 2

Okay so little side note, and my testimony about the direct correlation between physical health and spiritual health

We have been getting up early and running working our way from 1 mile (which is what I have been doing most of the mission in the morning) increasing it 4 miles now, over the past three weeks it has been awesome, I forgot how much I love running the distance and feeling and seeing the improvement and increased I just feel great!

​Elder Tupou has been keeping up...too! What happens when you have those crazy running companions, we are planning on running the Alderson 5k on during the 4th of July Celebration.
The H. family reminded us that we live super close (just down the street) to the Greenbriar River trail, which is a gorgeous run so this past week we have at 6:00am (so we still have enough time to run and get to our studies on time) Doing this has really increased the energy I have in the day and helped us to remember we can do hard things and has brought greater spiritual endurance with physical endurance. 

​I am so grateful and the lord answered my prayers with wanting to be healthier again, by sending me Elder Tupou, who has so far lost 30 pounds on his I left the MTC at right around 175 pounds, after last winter I was up to and just over 200 pounds...after the past transfer we now have a zero junk food kitchen now and are eating better, excising better and it has been a big part of this area doing better, because simply we are more in-tune, accompanied by an improved personal and companion study set us up to be the servants the lord needs us to be by which the spirit can work with. 
This is me coming out of our district cave adventure yesterday 
In short I have lost 9 pounds in the past three weeks and feel better and stronger spiritually and physically. I had a similar experience in the months before my mission I discovered when I was growing stronger spiritually  I lost nearly 50 lbs in 4 months, not with some crazy diet but the little things and living righteously provided better physical endurance and self control. It is my testimony that this works both ways, but we must exercise both spiritually and physically to receive the greatest heath spiritually and physically. My hope and goal is to reach an optimum Health spiritually and physically by the end of my mission and I pray the lord will help me use the time I have left to be the prepared spiritual and physical man for both what he needs and what I need to be. 

​So as district Leader, I occasionally get to organize District P-Day activities, since our last cave adventure went well, I learned that there were over 1400 caves in The Greenbriar Valley, and Sister S. just happened to have recently moved near one. She showed us where it was and it was an epic adventure, West Virginia really is wild and wonderful and so pretty! Our short hike through the countryside was breathtaking and the cave was about 2 miles long and was complete Indiana Jones was like Disneyland but for real! real underground rivers, wooden plank bridges, the whole nine yards...this was a well traveled cave but it was not lit so the only light we had was our flashlights...sister S. set us up everything we would need to be safe, extra batteries, candles, water, directions and all.  
One of the Plank Bridges about a mile into the cave.
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Again the only light we had was our six flashlights, and camera flash...I planned a short mini district meeting that we would have in the cave, to follow-up our last district meeting, about relying on the spirit...we all took a seat and turned off our flashlights...Zero light...dark, can't see hand in-front of your face dark. We all knew that the cave had a path, but with out the light we did not know where to go...and related it to how much we rely on the spirit to show us where to go and what to do both in missionary work and in our life, the spirit can also warn and show us perils and how important it is to stay on the path (of righteousness) and it is true how we really do rely on the spirit, totally dependent on it especially in missionary work. Missionary work without the spirit is just as perilous as being in a dark cave with no light. We also read verses from 1 Nephi 3-4...about when Nephi and his brothers hid in the "cavity of a rock" and Nephi's example in following the spirit...and remembering that spirit didn't show Nephi the entire path, but showed him enough step by step to continue to act in faith and trust the spirit to light whole way as we go...and that we must act in faith, relying on the spirit and trusting in the lord. We finished off by singing the spirit of God and letting it echo through the cave. It was Grand!
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signing the log book deep in the cavern...not everyday that this book gets, a bunch of Elders from Utah, Alaska and Switzerland. 
The cave had some tight spots between rooms, the cave was really amazing, free and of the many in here in The Greenbriar Valley:) We were the only explorers of this cave today, note it is considered a "Wild Cave", because it is not developed, it is just on an old abandoned farm in the middle of beautiful no-where countryside.
The other part of our adventure was a dance contest planned by Elder Tupou, with the use of a portable speaker and some EFY music, Elder Tupou and Elder Thompson had a bit of a fun dance showdown in the very well acoustic cave.

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Exiting, this exit was epic, since we had that portable speaker and the Jurassic Park Suite, it made for a very real adventure experience and just was a blast and downright awesome.
For our Faith, Families & Freedom!
My District Members: Elder Thompson, Elder Poulsen, Elder Rassmusen, Elder Kovac, Elder Tupou (left to right)
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Hiking back...and onward ever onward in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Love Yins
Elder Wheeler

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