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

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