Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

Well this week went by so fast! It was not even funny, I am so exhausted but so happy.
Huntington has a lot of decaying areas in the city outside of the downtown area and the Marshall Campus which is still the hardest thing for me to see in my mission is just devastating poverty. It is hard to see people living in conditions that they might as well be in a 2nd world country, the hard part of seeing that is just seeing people that just seem Stuck!  Stuck and surrounded by what seem to be in-passable steep treacherous mountains of problems, addictions and violence. It can be very overwhelming to work in such an environment. Seeing that the problems at large are so huge that it seems impossible to make a dent in the effort to help people.
Following such great success with our Booth at Marshall University on Saturday which was an all day affair and finding so many great new bright young adults...I wanted with all my heart to see even just a few of these contacts to catch the spirit and experience the power of The Book of Mormon as Sister Griffith did back down in Lewisburg...I prayed, really prayed one and as I did so I didn't want the prayer to end it was just of the best prayers I have had in my mission and I knew that Heavenly Father was really listening because I was really sincerely talking with him.  I also asked for help and direction about how to help the others we teach in the rougher parts of Huntington. Then in Sunday School yesterday I heard an interesting quote, from president Ezra Taft Benson"
“Some may ask why we as a people and church quietly and consistently seek to change individuals while there are such large problemsall about us. … But decaying cities are simply a delayed reflection of decaying individuals. … The commandments of God give emphasisto improvement of the individual as the only real way to bring about the real improvement in society” (A Plea for America, Salt Lake City:Deseret Book Co., 1975, p. 18).
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes theslums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment.Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature” 
The spirit was so clearly speaking to me when I heard this, this is one example of many that I know I really know Heavenly Father listens and answers my prayers.

This was also direct answer to my prayer and personal revelation through church attendance, which I feel also came so clearly because of increased faith in the Sabbath day, both for me personally and in my fellow ward members.

Lets get Started Photos...On Tuesday after our wonderful Zone Conference I repeated history by hopping in Elder and Sister Winn's Car with my suit case and crossed the river back down to my old stomping grounds on Prestonsburg KY. I was beside myself with excitement the entire drive passing familiar sites and calling to set up appointments with people I knew and taught.
I love Prestonsburg! Oh and by the way over the past three months now I have lost 25 LBS and am just 5 LBS to go to reach my Pre-mission weight.  
Seeing familiar faces and old friends...A.G.
Sister S.
J.A....from the library and The C. family from Billy Rays.
First thing in the morning after sleeping in my former bed and apartment...Elder Rose and I set out with Elder Winn to see D.L. This experience was the most choice of my mission. 
8 months since leaving Prestonsburg KY I returned to find D.L. just blossoming with the fullness of the Gospel, hearing of the trials of her new faith and seeing how she has let them shape and sharpen her into a mighty latter-day saint. The Lord has also poured out her blessing upon her, including that she was able to move into a nicer home.
Elder Winn: "D. do you know why Elder Wheeler is so happy right now?...lets go to Alma 17 to find out."

"And now it came to pass that as Alma [Elder Wheeler] was journeying from the land of Gideon [Huntington WV] southward, away to the land of Manti [Prestonsburg KY], behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah [D.] journeying towards the land of Zarahemla. 2 Now these sons of Mosiah [D.] were with Alma [Elder Wheeler] at the time the angel first appeared unto him [Teaching D. and Baptism]; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his [Elder Wheeler's] joy, they [D.] were still his brethren [Sister] in the Lord; yea, and they [D.] had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they [D.] were men of a sound understanding and they [D.] had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
 3 But this is not all; they [D.] had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they [D.] had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they [D.] taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
This was sweet token reward of my mission, I am so joyful to see the lord's promises coming in their fullness to others and myself in my is true that this work is the most gratifying than any other.

Cardio rocks...I also picked up a sweet running vest that adds weight from another missionary to increase my endurance while staying with slower companions;) I am so grateful I have companions who want to work out as well. 
Made a stop by our loved Taco Bell Elder Cluff be jealous. I walked right in and everyone recognized me:) 
old Friends A.B.
Teaching A.H. again at the Prestonsburg Library with Elder Rose
Visiting my Purple Haired Friend B.L.
It was a little bit of a through for me because of being back in Prestonsburg every time I went outside I expected it to be chilly and cold (because I was there in the Fall and Winter) so my brain was a little confused when I stepped outside and it was green and hot in August! 
M.! B. family
Score! it was just over 200 three months ago.
This letter doesn't even come close to expressing how incredible this exchange was, The members, investigators and community members were so great. and Elder Rose said "it was the best exchange he had ever been on." and inspired him to see what that area was really capable of.  

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