Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

​The Horizon continues to look bright ahead here in Huntington...many more miracles and progress to tell the story of this week.
​Last week for FHE we went to "The MAZE" in Milton WV it was a grand activity and we had a lot of fun together as a group...the highlight of it all was when one of our friends P.N. on the hay ride back to the parking lot leaned over to Elder Davis & I and said "when was it that you invited me to be baptized again?" we responded "the 28th of November" (it has since moved up to November 14th) "I want to do it" P.N. replied...overjoyed we asked him what brought him to his decision he simply and happily said a lot of prayer...as soon as we disembarked from the wagon P.N. walk up behind Sister H put his arm around her and told her the good news...to which she was elated and hugged him...very sweet moment to remember. 
(Left to Right)
Top: Elder H., P.N., Bro P., C., Hh, Elder Wheeler, Rl (friend), 
Bottom: Not sure, Sister H., M., M.P., PJ, and Elder Davis
​Riding from the parking lot to back to the corn maze...this little group continues to grow with new faces. In addition to P.N.'s milestone, it was so wonderful to see the continued progress of of Hh and C. who are the sweetest and are just so excited to be back in activity in the church and also another of our friends from Marshall Rl came along as well.
​Titanic Shout-out for my man Bolt! (formerly Elder Cluff)
​Lost in the maze...finding our way around via Bible Trivia. We were the 2nd of 4 groups to finish the maze...it was actually fairly difficult.
​Between our missionary knowledge and P.N.'s scriptural literacy we managed to navigate the maze.
​The entire YSA...and that was just monday...there is more.

​Midway through the Week I went on an exchange up to Gallipolis OH with elder Maloy...We went to BWW before exchanging Notice what is on the box...Love ya Elder Davis.
​I finally made it to see the famous "moth-man" (google it) in Point Pleasant WV...I don't have any photos of my exchange with Elder Maloy but we do have a few awesome videos that I will send home soon.
​It is also Homecoming week here at Marshall...miracle story here...so we had just had an awesome day teaching and visiting our friends and to top off the day we went to the homecoming parade and Bon fire...where in white we stand out in a sea of green...as we were walking through the crowd a girl comes up behind us and low and behold we meet Ln another YSA hiding in the wood work...it was awesome to meet her and met up with us the next two days and got introduced to the other YSA's miracle!
​The color guard and the Thunder Band were out and about...love a good marching band...also speaking of which there was a band competition  at Marshall this past week which reminded me of a few dates back in the day...in addition to meeting Ln at this event, we had three other people who we haven't seen in a while come up to us and talk for a little while...and M. said that a few of her friends mentioned to her in class the next day that "they saw [her] people" haha but in a reality that is significant because she is then able to slowly bit by bit share a little more of the gospel with her friends and the campus overall is just become acquainted with us...it is not unusual to see us (missionaries) around anymore.
​In the lobby of the Drinko Library...Ln is the third over from the left...PJ's dad also came into town for his Ordination to Elder this past weekend.


​more homecoming madness = Free Food!
​Ln came to meet-up with us here for lunch too, ! I am Just so excited to be a part of all the growth here.
​I was also Happily surprised by a visit from the H. family (from back in Parkersburg, by the way it was last week a year ago that I left Parkersburg, crazy!)...who covertly had called under a different name to meet up with us to get a book of mormon...imagine my surprise when the women in the red and white shirts (family of the H's) gave me a note from home with two ties...and being sisters I really recognized the voice of the woman in the white...but I couldn't figure it out...and then I turned around and was so excited to see sister H. again! I literally screamed from excitement! it was so great! and a very well done and sweet surprise. Love you "H" Family!
​I also got to meet the latest addition to the H. Family...he has so much hair! and so cute!


Great week, So I have been giving it some consideration and prayer over the past couple months and this week got a few insights into this decision one of which being a talk in stake conference. Which has lead me to seriously consider applying to Marshall University.
​Less than 6 months now...April 22nd should be the day I fly home...Sister Sullivan flies home next week!

​So not a solid decision yet. And not a decision I take lightly...but going to school out of state.
​Marshall just opened a huge brand new Engineering School...anyhow there are a lot of factors, but I do feel comforted by the spirit in a decision to "seriously consider" attending Marshall. Which also provides far more missionary opportunities as a YSA myself after my mission which I really like the idea of...verses being among the crowd. 

The power went out at the library before I could send more.


​With the help of the L. family we put together a Halloween costume we could teach with...for a few of the Halloween parties coming up...think plan of salvation...life after death...see if you can get it. This is at the the stake YSA Halloween Party which was hosted by the Marshall YSA at the P.'s home...which 6 people from Martin came along with Elder & Sister Winn...so good to see my old friends again.
​A classic featured at many a Mormon Halloween party...J. won!
​Hay ride...with our tour guide Elder Hoggan.
​Pumpkin Bowling...this was funny because P. was supposed to be the pumpkin catcher so they wouldn't bust on the brick wall but one came apart and went everywhere before before it even hit the wall and he was dodging pumpkin pieces.
​J. is doing well...weekends seem to be tough on her, she is beaming with light in the week then the weekend just seems to unload all Hell on her...I really can't relate how much potential we see in her and she has just taken hold of it...but it is tough sometimes, Keep her especially in your prayers...sometimes I just want the opposition to give people a break, but it will make her strong...and we will be patient with her...and I need to be better at celebrating every little step. She really is a super star...and will go far in time.
​Bobbing for Apples...P. won this game
​The whole group...from WV, KY & OH
More in Part 5

Note: The Power went out at the Library last week before I could send these...enjoy.
​Another miracle...was a letter from Vicki wilder:) so a couple months ago I drafted a letter to Vicki...but I never did finish it or send it...for the life of me I do not remember sending it! I remember writing it and then setting it on my shelf to finish later...I have absolutely no clue about how the letter I wrote made it from my shelf to Vicki's home in Parkersburg...never the less somehow it miraculously arrived and the letter was very sweet to read. Love you Sister Wilder...so good to hear from you:)

How much I wish I could have time to write my friends in former areas more...but I am just simply so busy with the work going on here...a little note to a few of my friends Brandon & Becky Coss, Heidi Griffith & her family, Alan Bennett, the Gilkenson family, Andrew Greenleaf, the Collins Family to name a few...not to mention the amazing member families who hosted and took care of me so well, like the Haroldsens and the Linsenmeyer's, the McAdams, the Fords the Bentley's and many many more...thank you I think of you all often and pray for you and your families...know that I do miss you all and haven't forgotten about you. Love you all.

​Out to lunch at Hussons Pizza just off campus, following an amazing lesson with the YSA and PJ's father...we talked about following the prophet and what the special witness of the apostles mean read 3 Nephi 12: 1-2...following the discussion we watched "Prophet of the Restoration" on campus in Drinko 341 and the videos linked below...followed by very pure and powerful testimonies shared by M. and Hh. and P., it has been so incredibly fulfilling and sustaining as a missionary to see each of these close friends prosper and sink their roots in deep...Elder Davis said "do you feel that...that is the sprit"...Ln. was also there...note I am wearing the sweet black tie you sent me with the Haroldsens

Pondering the Possibilities...

We had an amazing stake conference this past weekend...we were invited to attend the Saturday session and participate in a large Ward Council role play...and we heard amazing talks from every different demographic of the stake YSA, OSA, Married with kids, retired...it was incredibly unifying! Also one man spoke who used to be a missionary here who had served in Prestonsburg and in Huntington...just like me..and then came back to Marshall for school...pondering...

We and the other YSA's got roped into, (really it was enjoyable) singing in the choir at stake conference...which is funny because last year's fall stake conference in Huntington I was roped into singing in choir by Sister S., because the Martin Ward was responsible for organizing that time. 

Also the stake president, President Cox made a huge announcement that the entire stake will be having a temple day of scriptural proportions on May 7th 2016 when the entire stake all ages will go to the Louisville KY temple all day. expecting over 1,000 people...the spirit was so strong following this announcement and the closing hymn of the Sunday session was the spirit of God through which I could hardly stay in my seat. 
​D.T. (formally L.) from the Martin ward...who if everyone recalls was one of my best friends down in Prestonsburg KY...she is just on fire and so happy! Her smile could melt an ice burg in seconds:) She saw me and with no argument to be had reached across the bench and hugged me, so good to see her again...and next to me was P.N. who I introduced to her and mentioned that he was going to be baptized D. said softly and beautifully  with all that beaming light that she has in her eyes "You have so much to look forward too...so much"
It was also wonderful to see friends meet friends and have Sister D.T. give M. and C....some of the wisdom from her years. 
This week also marks sister Sullivan's final week and Elder Carter & I were here to see her off...she will be missed, mission accomplished sister Sullivan!

​Thought you all might enjoy seeing where we do the majority of our teaching on campus in the Drinko Library usually up on the 3rd and 4th floor...Love having this resource in a clean and reverent place the spirit just seems to thrive a little more.

Okay now onto this week!

ART

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

Dearest All
It was a fantastic week, I really love my companion we have just been best of friends since last week and teaching with greater unity than ever before, and I think the results of the week really show the incredible difference, it was a humbling experience in which the lord really then made so much more out of us. 
 This week has taken elder Davis to being just "one of my companions" to a dear friend, we were good partners before but this week we really became friends, and good friends at that...I feel like we really care about each other now, which is how it should be right from the start...but easier said than done...I guess what I am trying to say is that I am converted to "companionship"...similar to my joy and discovery to my conversion of Obedience in the little things and the power that it brings...I also feel and we both saw the results of that increased power and trust the lord has in our companionship. I can't really describe it adequately, but the blessing that it was, we are happier, our studies are better, our teaching is better...it was just another "I get it moment"...I am so grateful to have him as my companion, our companionship has taught and made me better...I wouldn't trade my companionship with Elder Davis. I really love it and I love him so much more.

We are seeing miracles both on and off campus, with 11 member present lessons which coordinated right into 5 friends at church..it was so joyful...each who has a baptismal date and is seriously progressing, I will struggle to relate how incredible the week was,

J.M., she didn't even wait a full 24 hours to contact us again and asked to meet with us then had 2 other member present lessons with her later in the week, she has just been so excited to learn more, and she really is noticing the difference in her life, she was really worried about this past week because one of her friends past away 6 months ago on Friday, who she was really close to and was anticipating to be really "out of it" but instead had a great week and instead "felt how heavenly father and my friend are watching over me and so happy with how far I have come" - J.M.
We had probably the greatest Law of chastity lesson this week to...I love teaching the commandments because the blessings are so clear their is no debate in doctrine it is just true and has universal blessings.
She was so sure to come to church again, but sustained a concussion during her rugby game on Saturday.

P.N. - Is another Marshall Friend who has been learning for sometime now, found by the H's originally and had member neighbors back home. We had an amazing lesson with him this week, "I know everything I have been taught is true...but my family..." and we had an amazing lesson with our YSA's and him talking about how much the lord will bless him and how his family will be converted to the Gospel as they see the light in him. Elder Davis read him Matt 10: 37-41...the spirit was present and by the end of it all we all left the library at Marshall with hope and excitement P.N. set a date for November 28th...he came to church this past Sunday...the Joy on Sister H's face when she saw him sitting with the other YSA members in the chapel...it is these moments that make this work the best work anyone can be engaged in.

S.G. - Simplify is the word that comes to mind...it was a ride with him this week, Satan just trying to cloud the clear simplicity of the gospel. Our new bishop had him over for dinner again and we read alma 34 with him and talked about grace and the atonement...keep moving forward...pure simplicity is powerful. He came to church as well.

The N's continue to be the sweetest family. They also came to dinner with members and the ward is just taking hold of them. They and their primary children niece and nephew all came to church. They keep saying how grateful they are and how much happier they have been, progressing right along to December 23rd, getting ready to take on quitting smoking! They will do it easy, as they keep acting in faith. 

Nearly two transfers later...Elder Davis and I look back at how we feel like the work particularly at Marshall has grown. we feel like we are not laying the foundation but building on level 1 & 2 on the foundation which already existed.

M.W. (a freshman member student we met at our first event on campus) two months ago we were meeting with her and teaching her, now two months later she spoke in sacrament as a spiritually confident woman, I felt so joyful to hear her say "when I first arrived I wasn't sure how much I wanted to part of the church" to "I have chosen this as my truth" and to go from being unsure about the plan of salvation to teaching it to her friends and seeing her friends come to church. The strength of the growth of Marshall was found in strengthening our two members and that provided the means to the rest of the work which lead to two less-actives coming back to activity...instantly & excitedly...and so far 2 friend students seriously progressing to baptism...I love them all so much. 

NOTE: We are changing the lingo of how we refer to "investigators" the Term "investigator" is going to fade away, as we now will refer to them as "friends" which is actually what they really are, after all, our friends. So in my letters here on out I will be adopting this practice.
 

I will start off with a cool photo from the Henderson Center at Marshall...Go Herd!
An exciting little bit of the week, Elder Davis and I decided to take one of our ideas and bring it into reality. Let me introduce you to our new tool a 6.5'x3' A-frame chalk board sign. (nicknamed "Elder Marshall" by the YSA students)
We have a few different ideas about how we want to use it already, to teach about the restoration by writing a phrase on one side of the board and asking students to quickly look at the quote then attempt to re-write the quote on the other side and watch how it changes, and teach about the apostasy and then invite their friends to come and stand between and read the quote to them and have the quote come out clear and correct and teach about prophets.
​A few of these faces you may know (left to right) P.N. (another friend we have been teaching), M.W., PJ, J.M....we have a few ideas about how we are going to use this new tool, which we are very excited about, but when we are not using it, it stays on campus with an inspiring quote on the board which we will change a few times a week. 
​this was our missionary style Sunday dinner, with chili to-go provided by the H. family, this was in PJ's office at Marshall with Hh, J., P., PJ & M....leftover food from packages (thank you Aunti liz and mom) and mis-match bowls and all.

​J. quickly came around much to our joy, by Monday she had asked to meet with us again (so much for taking a week) J. is doing just grand, as you can see she is reading right along in her Book of Mormon and is perhaps the most spot on progressing friend I have taught, immediately applying the principles she is taught like the word of wisdom & the Law of chastity...she did get a concussion this week following getting kicked in the head during her rugby game at Eastern Kentucky University, so keep her quick recovery in your prayers, she is one tough girl...Hh is the girl in the background.
​This is C. (in the middle between Hh and M. another new YSA...we were sitting following dinner on Sunday and as we began teaching a lesson we paused and talked about. How happy we are and grateful for each of them members and friends and how much we have seen each of them grow and progress, ourselves included, so far this semester. The YSA group at Marshall has grown and come so far at Marshall coming from noting last year to several and half of them being non-members



I am just so happy I just don't want it to end...I wish I could just take all these happy moments and put them to music and live them over and over again and share them with my family and friends...

- Elder Wheeler
ART

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015

Dearest All

Struggle makes us stronger! Elder Davis and I had a hard night last night, companionship issues, it happens from time time with two imperfect people who have hopes, expectations and goals...we both had a really good heart to heart, we both almost simultaneously as we were preparing to leave this morning we both just apologized to each other in the most genuine ways and the spirit returned after a very long night without it, we set goals, made plans and recognized which of our imperfections and weaknesses were "brought to the surface [last night] and are ready to be scooped out"...it was the most relieving feeling, to feel forgiveness. Really I am entirely confident that we will be made a solid stronger companionship, and both better men...we really talked it out and it worked out. I really feel happy about it. It is a beautiful day, and we are going to work many more miracles together.

On top of that our marvelous YSA members sent us some very encouraging texts, I think they saw our distress and said "We are here for you as much as you are here for us"...which was an unimaginable blessing. It was so wonderful to feel their love and friendship for us and really their support of us as missionaries, recognizing we are not perfect and they in a sense sought out the opportunity to help us as we helped them in the past. It was a blessing and I felt the lords love in their encouragement and an answer to prayers.

All-in-all I feel like the frustration, hurt and disappointment is quickly fading into the night and our companionship and even the unity with our members has come out stronger, because it caused us to bring it to the lord broken and he is giving it back better.

Aside of the last hour of our week, we had a really amazing week teaching 7 member present lessons and seeing a lot of progress and commitment in our investigators.

J. said earlier this week following reading the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet "I am 94% sure I want to be baptized" and set a date for November 14th then she gave up Tea and Coffee to live the word of wisdom. she was so sure she was going to come to church again then just dropped off the face of the earth for a couple days, then wanted to "take a week off from the world" confused as to why we met up with her last night...but she contacted us later to us explaining a little bit more about what was going on, which brought some clarity...but All will be well with her, she will be back on board next week she says.

S.G., wow this man is amazing, we brought him over to a members office near campus and she shared her testimony and conversion story with him and last night that same member family had him over for dinner where we taught a lesson and our newly called bishop and S.G. just got along great S.G. said "the way you explained that gave me a vision of what this really is all about" was S.G.'s comment after we followed up on the Plan of Salvation. the spirit was very strong and S.G. was very happy. S.G. is on date for December 23rd however I think his date will move up to be sooner very quickly, especially considering he as no word of wisdom issues and no law of chastity issues...I also love and am touched when with every member we introduce him to he tells the story of how we met him, to see how grateful he is and how much he treasures that experience.

The N's - are progressing right along and we are teaching them as a couple which is excellent to see a family progress together. To see their hope of the temple still firmly in their mind and helping each other as they go. They are on date for December 26th.

S. - was a member referral we have been working with the past few weeks, who is a non-member attending seminary at Huntington High School, her grandparents are members and she is progressing right along as well and to the joy of the members who referred her she has set December 5th to be Baptized.

It is going to be a white Christmas...all with very solid people with support surrounding them arranged by the Lord himself.

minnionaries were spotted around Marshall this week.
The fall colors are taking center stage this is in our front yard
It was his first exchange out of his area...he was very excited and we had a grand time here in huntington
On an exchange with Elder Jaussi...having his his first Sheetz experience...which sheetz is a gas station mecca...
Our Ward Mission Leader's Car...he really was the sheriff of Huntington Too
Love you all
ART
Elder Wheeler

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

Greetings, what a great General Conference weekend and a busy one at that! All four our the friends I have been telling you about the past few weeks, J., S. and the N's all came and watched General Conference with us!

S.G. and I leaving Marshall to go to the Priesthood Session
The N's P. & E. following the Sunday Morning Session
Elder and Sister H. are in front of our wonderful CES missionaries...they do so much for us and the YSA's send out a prayer for them if you would.
(left to right) Hh, J., PJ, M., Elder Wheeler & Elder Davis
I am happy that the story of J., S. and The N's Family continues to be a happy one, each one of them came to General Conference and Loved it. S. accepted a baptism date following the priesthood session. The N's came to the Sunday Morning session together and wow, they looked like the world was just washed right off of them as the just beamed with excitement and hope for their family. J. came with the Other YSA students to the final session and dinner following hosted by a member family in Proctorville OH.
short on time. love you all here are a few more photos
I went on exchanges down in Paintsville KY with Elder carter (my MTC companion) and was impressed with his effective and organized ward roster and area map. 
It is also a great joy to see someone I taught nearly a year ago seeing them progressing still and listed as Active...A.G. the man!
Middle of nowhere Kentucky...the things you find.
Sister Sullivan, Elder Carter & I prepare to Elder our "legacy months" well Elder Carter and I.  Sister Sullivan goes home at the end of this transfer...Sister Sullivan gave a truly moving departing testimony in our Zone Meeting...Those testimonies have so much more power when coming from friends I know and love and seeing what the mission has brought them to become.
District Fat Patties Lunch...our YSA keep joining us they are practically full time missionairies them self.
The random things you find in closets...M. is a gifted Piano player in her own right...and PJ is graduate Violinist. 
Pillow in President W's home (councilor in the stake presidency) who hosted us and the YSA's for General Conference SaturdayMorning.
#HIS Mormon Herd
Love you 
ART
Elder Wheeler