Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015

The Alderson 4th of July Celebration was grand, we found 3 new families to teach, and a Less-Active by the name of H.D, she had moved into Alderson from Covington's area in March, Her records were never moved so we quickly corrected that and her records should be in WSS shortly,

"T" is the top new investigator from the Alderson 4th of July, it amazes me how the lord for some reason often requires us to wait till the last second to see the miracle, as the Crowds at the Alderson 4th of July field were getting jammed into the football field, and we are just about ready to pack up, T. comes and is immediately interested in playing the game and by the end after a 30 minute conversation, said "you know I feel like I have been drifting from my church right now and was meant to talk to you guys today"...he excitedly exchanged contact information and set-up and appointment for the next day (Sunday) which he kept and we taught him the plan of salvation, which he just said "wow, there it is right there"...then his friend showed up as we were finishing the lesson, he warned us as he came in that He (AJ) liked to bash, and sure enough he came in and started doing just that, but after a few moments, of this T. told Aj "shut-up you don't know what you are talking about" and when he continued "AJ that is enough, you have gone to far, you are dis-respecting my guests in my house"...which was super awesome we ended the lesson and when outside, T. said, sorry about that and we set another appointment for Tuesday, he said "ya you could feel it when he walked in the spirit left"...I was like whoa, this guy is awesome and has already started reading the book of Mormon. We had plans to invite him to be baptized but were cut short by AJ, but we are excited to teach him again tomorrow.

So back to A.B.,

A. sent us this text message the day after a lesson went south, where we mis-understood his intentions and failed to fulfill our purpose...A. has faced a lot of anti and opposition over the course of his 7 month investigation of the church so far, with major highs and lows through that time...which personally I thought to myself and knew that 'Heavenly Father will must have grand plans for him, will be able to use him as a great missionary himself doing so much good that the Adversary has been so afraid of what Alan can and will accomplish with the fulness of the Gospel, Priesthood and Gift of the Holy Ghost that he as worked relentlessly to try to keep A. from it'

----Text----
"I hope what I'm about to say makes sense to you guys...
I have questions that I NEED the TRUE answers to. When I ask them I get shunned. Whether it be from changing the subject or whatever else. Some of the questions I have asked has made blood boil; which leads me to ask another question: Why?
I feel that if someone or a group of people wanted me to join their "team" "group" "gang" or in this case, "church"...that they would be willing to answer any questions I may have or help me understand certain doctrines, views, or any other avenues. I had high hopes that you guys would take the time to find these answers and then present them to me. But instead, you fled from the opportunity to the gain information so that you could learn and teach.
Now is the time for a bunch of sad emojis but you wouldn't be able to make them out on the phone you have, so imagine ALL the sad emojis right here__________________________________________ If you feel like talking with me again... I'm almost always home"
----End Text-----

Understand that this was in no way an angry text, I genuinely love A. and he Genuinely loves us, we have become very good friends over the past 7 months
After this A. admitted his concern was that we would stop coming by, and he said that he can understand where we were coming from because at first (months ago) I was trying to prove you wrong...but now I really just want to know the truth...I think that what you guys are saying is great and it sounds good to me but I have all these questions nagging at me at the back of my mind...questions along the lines of the "Nature of God" "various Joseph Smith Anti with events in church history" and "Eternal Marriage" and seeming inconsistencies...

Now that morning in our companionship study, before we were actually planning for another investigator preparing to teach about eternal marriage...the moment we opened preach my gospel, I remembered a question A. had a month ago when we taught him the Plan of Salvation and Eternal Marriage and he brought up Matthew 22: 23-33 which with out the understanding of Eternal Marriage and priesthood Authority would make a belief in Eternal Marriage seem UN-biblical, when in fact it is the Bible that we see accounts of Christ giving the sealing authority to his apostles (Matthew 18:18 is one example)

I had a testimony of Eternal marriage and believed it to be true but wanted to know the answer to this question myself, when this question came into my head I looked at Elder Tupou and he felt the same thing and so we decided we were going to find the answer to it, after prayer and searching we of course were lead to D&C 132 particularly verses 15-17 which as we read them the spirit rang so true and brought the understanding it was so clear and we both immediately took to our knees and thanked Heavenly Father for talking to us through the scriptures...low and behold the text message above was too large and our phone didn't receive it so later when we went to A.'s home unaware of the text, he let us read it...I was overjoyed because the spirit really softened us and we had a true heart to heart with A., laying out all of our hopes, frustrations and the "why's" and he the same to us...in short he really wanted to know if it is true, and we had been prepared by the promptings of the Holy Ghost to answer is question about eternal marriage...which lead to discussions about priesthood Authority and the temple over the next few days. The spirit filling the A.B. home each time since...After watching the video "Temples: a conversation with a church leader" The spirit was simply incredible, this is really what it is to do missionary work, to be worthy and prepared so the spirit can teach and the spirit did teach, even as I write this I am so full of the memory of that joyful spirit filled moment, when A. said "that is what I want" speaking of the examples of what the temple does for us as latter-day saints when we leave the temple to [go back to our neighborhoods and be good neighbors, honest, faithful to our spouse...and so on] he asked "what do I need to do get there" he wanted to go right then and there Elder Tupou made the comment "in the temple the world is not in it" So we need to abide by his (Heavenly Father) rules "that makes sense" A. said...and in conclusion of this lesson we invited A. to be baptized on August 22nd of this year and He said yes...in the weeks since we have been searching and studying out his other questions...He also successfully quit smoking with the Stop Smoking workshop, taught in a the L.'s home (members)

three days into the stop smoking workshop, A. called us at the end of our second day staying in Alderson and told me "you know when I was at work I had someone hand me a cigarette and I really wanted it, but I took it and put it in the toilet...then later the same thing happened but this time I was tired, stressed and I justified it to myself and I was going to light it but then...I saw your disappointed face...(at the end of the first day we went by to see how he was doing and asked him if he had smoked any cigarettes and he said "I have only smoked....[pause]....none" and for that moment, I was devastated and he saw it but overjoyed when he finished his sentence and that he had successfully gone a day without smoking) you looked so devastated and when I remembered your disappointed face I couldn't smoke it"
That was humbling for me and really let me understand my role as a missionary and was honored that Heavenly Father brought to his remembrance my disappointed face, to stop him from smoking.
One other thing to note, when we were teaching A. I told him, that Heavenly Father needs him to quit smoking because of the good that he will do with you, helping others to quit and just by being alive longer and being a missionary etc, he needs you A....and I could see it in him that he felt that duty and with it I feel is the means of him gaining a great deal of strength to overcome

A. is also seeing the promised blessings from living the word of wisdom as found in D&C 89: 19 "and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures" in that same phone call A. also told me "I got online, not really sure why...well yes I do know why because of the enemy, and looked up somethings about the whole God thing [Nature of God] but as I read it, what they (authors of anti) were saying didn't make sense in fact the scriptures they were using when I read them made you guys sound right and I just felt good about it..." I asked him how he felt about that "I feel happy and am excited and want to go and do what and where God wants me to be"...we have been happily engaged in many spirit filled studies around this question which (I could go on about....but that would be another huge letter in itself) I will simply say that the spirit had taught me the truth about this doctrine and I have gained a witness about the Pearl of Great Price as scripture, with the same magnitude that I know the Book of Mormon, Bible, and The Doctrine and Covenants are scriptures...it has been awesome!....in the mean time as Heavenly Father has been teaching me he has also been teaching A. and answering his questions.

We also explained to A. that questions will come his entire life and questions are good, because that is how we learn, but he has noticed the difference as he has more sincerely searched for the answers...and that reading the Book of Mormon and gaining an witness of it's truth will give you a solid foundation during times of trying faith as you learn more are come across something that you don't understand yet.
since that first answer to his question, he has trusted us more and has come to us seeking answers and said "okay now that you helped me understand that help me understand this..." and so on...this is missionary work at it's finest and I am so grateful to be a part of it and feeling the joy associated with it! It is my testimony that we can find answers to our questions and the understanding we desire, with faith and diligence it is true! Never doubt that there is not an answer and hold to what you already know to be true and Heavenly Father will teach you.

If you can't tell I am pretty well amazed, grateful and joyful with A.'s progression. I am so grateful to have been able to serve here for so long, and Heavenly Father and I haven't given up on A. and A. never gave up on us...I could feel it from day one with A. that he was a light in this Area and from the beginning was and is a sincere seeker of the truth and always wanted to know and the past 7 months the walls in his way and trials have been crumbling before the power of the Holy Ghost and he is nearly in the clear...we are winning this battle and will win this war! Hoorra!

We have had Great progressing lessons with the G. family and the Glk. family (river festival find), A. M. (river festival find), These festivals and fairs have been keeping us busy both during the event and the weeks and months after from the people Heavenly Father leads to us there.

The Alderson 4th of July booth we had was also a great tool for the investigators we already have and several potentials who came up to us at the booth, it also provided us space for them to sit down and eat out of the sun and we were able to teach and visit with them, including the Glk. family which will be a wonderful and needed addition to the ward...the whole family gathers when we teach them (with members). it is awesome

I will sum this up because I would have you reading for days...but we have had numerous awesome progressive and spirit filled moments and lessons with each of the above mentioned families and many more...we are busy, happy and learning missionaries.

​A. and his super adorable little family...with his wife T. in the background.
With our Subaru, packed full of all the booth supplies for the Alderson 4th and our suitcases for our 3-day stay in Alderson at the L's we packed up and headed out of Lewisburg...we were pretty impressed that we were able to actually fit it all.
​So Things are back to normal here in Lewisburg, but for the past week for the Greenbriar Classic, the town has been so packed that they turned all the traffic lights in the city to blinking yellow and  the state and city police directed traffic all week at every intersection in the city. It was quite the ordeal...and for the most part all the locals surrendered Lewisburg and WSS to the tourists and the locals headed to Alderson for our true West Virginian 4th of July Weekend.
​When we arrived at the L's to discover they forgot to leave the door open for us, Elder Tupou received the opportunity to apply some of his spider-man skills...he did successfully get to the second floor and open the door. 
Here is what I loved about the Alderson 4th is that the events were fun and simple...thousands of people came! to watch a fire-man's rodeo, with fireman competing in obstacle courses and challenges and such and it was a blast. Other events over the weekend, were river floating, tug of war Greenbriar county vs Monroe County, hot dog eating contests...all wholesome clean fun with a big fireworks show, and another rubber duck race at the end of the three days. 
This is H.D., our surprise less-active member we found well really she found us, she is awesome!

​the last event of the fireman's rodeo was a water tug of war, there was barrel on a cable that two departments had to shoot to other side against the other team's spray of water.

​The next day we joined our fellow west Virginians in a 5k race.
​The course was actually really challenging, with one mile solid up hill, and crossing two bridges over the Greenbriar River. With all of our running on the river trail in the morning we were both able to run the entire course and finish strong.
​Although one factor that was interesting I swear that the start gun they used punched a hole in the clouds because as soon as the race started the rain came pouring down...it was awesome...this is post race.
​We were soaked, along with everyone else
​I was pleased with my time, considering all the hills...the first person (18:47) was slower than my last 5k at home (18:23)...I finished 4th in my age class (20-29) and 13th overall with 22:59.5 and Elder Tupou was right behind me...there was about 125 people in this race, felt pretty good about the results.
I do love running, there some weird sick thrill I get out of it. haha.

​When the rain let up we were set-up and ready to go...the L's were nice enough to set us up with all the patriotic decorations
​Even the corn dogs were patriotic! 





​The L.'s were also gracious hosts and made charcoal steaks one night with a campfire included.
plus the L.'s were in cahoots with my mom and arranged for some roasted peeps:)
The L's are spectacular
Thanks mom

​The next morning we had a fantastic view for our studies.
​We met up with the Glk. family at the parade line-up who was taking their little grand daughter through the parade.
​We sported our flags all day. In God we Trust
​So this is the mascot for WVU (West Virginia Universtiy) The Mountaineer...and the guess what the guy who currently is the mountaineer and has been for a few years is a Mormon! He is quite the super star around West Virginia...he was busy posing for pictures and came up to us shook our hands and thanked us for being there.
​The Glk. family in the parade
It was a sweet Tender Mercy of the lord to at long last cross paths with the Lucus Family (Sister Blood's oldest sister) when they came up to Greenbriar county for a family fourth of july lunch, we have been working with a few of the Lucus' family's distant relatives who live in the ward here in WSS
​I was also happy to meet "spreezy"  who I had heard so much about from Katelyn before I left on my mission.





Saturday was by far the busiest day with the promised 10,000+ People attending...the Glk. family was nice enough to buy us dinner who doesn't love some good fair food.
​The Glk family also shared our table with us for dinner and played the game.
So one thing over the week with so many visitors from around the country for the Greenbriar Classic and around the State for the Alderson 4th of July Celebration, there was also a lot of members from other wards etc. that knew us as missionaries it was neat to be picked out and people wanting to take photos with us and just happy to see us and all..it shows how much the church really is growing...#TheMormonsAreEverywhere
This is T. the awesome new investiagor we met at the last moment before we packed up at the Alderson 4th. 
A Ton of people...we didn't stay for the fireworks but I was told they were spectacular, the whole event is really to pay for the fireworks $35,000 worth of fireworks were used. 
​In the church Parking lot on Sunday morning we enjoyed the testimonies of many visitors from the Greenbriar Classic, it was again nice to see that Members really are everywhere. This is one of the New fords that the Greenbriar lets the professional players who come use for their stay. 
I also learned that the Land that the original Church building was built on in WSS was donated by the Greenbriar Hotel.

That's all for this week
Love yins
Elder Wheeler
ART

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