Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

The booth up at the Roanoke star was a grand way to spend our Christmas evening, two people accepted Book of Mormon's who I genuinely believe will read them, but the biggest impact was simply the fact that we were there for 3 evenings before Christmas...many families took time to watch the video and it was wonderful to see parents teach their children the true meaning of Christmas, because of our presence there...many softened hearts and welcome thank you's from many people for going through the effort to be there and bring the spirit of Christ.

Today we, with the new Downtown Elders also hand delivered custom thank your cards to each of the city offices that were a part of making this happen and included the Zone Leaders phone number to contact us if the city ever requires our help. We are going to go ahead and reserve the Star for a booth again next year for Christmas and for the 4th of July and place it on the ward Calendar so all the elders will have to do next year is set-up and then reserve it again the year following.

We also found another new friend this week via media referral, I am very excited about and grateful for so far just this month 3 really solid friends have come from media referrals and working around referrals.

Also I went on an exchange to Bedford Va walking in Elder Davis' footsteps
Also got to teach one of their friends who is from Huntington
star topper for our booth at the Roanoke Star
Christmas Morning at the Hodge Home
Our Flat tire last night...our less-active friend S. was happy to help
thank you cards for the city.
that's all for this week...happy new year
Elder Wheeler

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Dearest All

It seems a long time in coming, but was joyful when our friend R.H. came to church and loved it, we have been teaching him for about two months, solid individual, he is currently a resident at the "Rescue Mission" Recovery Program, the ward frequently does service projects with this facility and was nice for the ward to see some fruits of their labors there as well, Brother H., first came in contact with church when he lived in Utah for a short while, when he got into the Recovery Program (something very similar to West Ridge Academy which my family is familiar with back in Utah) He asked the staff at the Rescue Mission if they knew of any Mormon missionaries in the area, to which thanks to the Ward the rescue mission was able to contact the Elders Quorum President and then refer us to him. 

He is originally from Huntington WV, which has been nice to have that connection with him having just served there. He once shared a journal entry (song) he wrote of his experience in Utah, it was powerful and pure, having progressed well in his program and arranging with his coach he is able to come to church with us, the D. family (Members - younger Married couple, recently moved back from BYU) Turned out to be excellent friends for him, excited for his continued progress and working with the Roanoke Rescue Mission more.

Also Brother C.M. (one of the ward's recent converts we are working with) received the Aaronic Priesthood this past Sunday, it was great to see Elder Mclune able to do that for one of his own coverts who was baptized shortly before I arrived in Roanoke.

The other big miracle was come Friday, the last day of Dickens of a Christmas, and as mentioned in my letter last week we were really struggling to get a booth for the final day...At last I called the zone Leaders on Friday morning to tell them I didn't think it was going to happen, but when we got off the phone, I just felt the spirit prompted to not give up just yet,.

So we knelt down to pray and brought our efforts to the Lord saying, "Heavenly Father we have put our very best effort to trying to bring 'A Savior is Born' to Roanoke and are at the end of our means, please help us if you want this to happen help us know the way" 

Pondering quietly for a moment the idea came to go down to the Downtown Roanoke office once again, so we went Downtown and came prepared having a proposal and photos of what we hoped to do to help convey our vision. The staff down their first of all was so grateful for the service the Zone had done the past two weeks with the various tasks they needed. When we asked it was like cutting butter this time, they put their heads together and with-in minutes had a space for us, it was miraculous, Heavenly Father really prepared the way, I feel at least in part to our efforts in faith to fulfill our purpose.
The Zone Leaders had to leave the event for a couple hours and asked me to oversee that everyone got to where they needed to be etc. which was grand and kept me happily busy that night. The booth went well we were set up right between the sledding hill and the stage, we were able to rotate nearly all the zone members through the different tasks and to manning the booth, and getting the opportunity to share it, the booth was particularly busy during the last hour of the event.

That is the gist of this week.

The following is a quote, which I particular enjoyed was impacted by from a letter a friend back at Marshall Sister Hh B. sent to me. She was a "rescue" during my time with Elder Davis in Huntington. She along with Brother P.N. (recent Convert who was baptized my last day in Huntington on November 14th), attended the Columbus OH temple on December 11th with their own family names with many others from the Mighty Mormon Herd. #GoHerd

"I think Christmas for me this year has really helped me to see the gift of the people who are in our lives. The people who we influence, and the people who influence us. Much like Jesus was sent by God to be an influence and example to all the Sons of Man and Son of God, we must do the same. I often think about how much better the world would be if we all just thought about how we impacted the lives of the people around us. If we could all be more like Jesus, like the primary song we all learned, to love our neighbors and serve our friends, how glorious the world would be." 
- Sister Hh B.


#ASaviorIsBorn Booth in Downtown Roanoke on the Corner of Market and Salem Ave. 
Elder McClune and I  with our turn at the top of the Sledding hill loading people and sending them off...it was a blast!

​Because Roanoke hasn't seen any snow yet this year...the city hired a company from North Carolina to make some snow...it was fun for all children and adults alike. Again felt a little like working at Lagoon again.

​All the Vinton Ward Missionaires, with our Ward Mission Leader Brother B. The Transfer also brought into the ward Elder Caldwell, (Bottom right) who came out with Elder Davis (two transfers after me)...it is very nice to have an lively "older missionary" in the ward. This was after we helped a new family move into the ward. (Note the License Plate)
(left to right: Elder Bosen, Brother Brevic, Elder McClune, Elder Wheeler, Elder Caldwell)


Wahoo, After nearly a month of searching and going through the processes of getting permission to set up our booth at the Roanoke Star...we as of 3 minutes ago have the permit in hand! So much work! As Elder Davis would say "Were official now boys!" 

A little bit of Downtown Roanoke...it really is a beautiful city, I learned that not only do they have street sweepers every night but they also have a crew that comes and sweeps the sidewalks etc. each night, not a piece of litter to be found, it really does add to the charm of the city.

Elder McClune got another round of "mail order meats" he is having a moment....haha

While we were with the Ward Clerk taking care of a few things the other Vinton Elders were posed like this, it was rather humorous, but I do like the Headline...Optimistic Outlook.

Wahooo...stoked! This took so much work! haha, but it will be much easier next time now.

Last I must give a enormous thank you so everyone who contributed to the Facebook Comment Testimony letter that I received in the mail today​, It was huge up-lifter for me, when it got it and started to read it earlier today I just sat at my desk soaking in the spirit and all the love, I simply sat there and cried, since getting to Roanoke I have been fighting off the thought that in someway I had failed in Huntington and was having a hard time keeping my spirits up between high points here in Roanoke, it was so good to read and feel the love and be reminded of impact of my mission, and to be uplifted by the very people I taught and knew in Parkersburg, Prestonsburg, and Huntington. You all really don't know what an impact it had and how important you are. I love you all and miss each of you in and out of the mission. 


That's All for this week
Love you
Elder Wheeler
-ART

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

Dearest All

We have been blessed by many Media referrals, (no doubt in part to the Christmas Initiative) many of them asking for a copy of The Book of Mormon, and other church media like Joy to the world...we have received one at least every two days and for the first time in my mission each one has been contacted with-in a day or two, (also being in the smallest geographical area I have ever served in helps that, and also means we have no excuse not to contact them with-in 24 hours) and we have 3 new investigators as a result, sincere investigators at that.

K.K, excellent man of faith, ordered a Bible and also welcomed The Book of Mormon, we taught him for the second time immediately following specialized training, feeling freshly spiritually sharpened and polished thanks to President Salisbury's wonderful instruction, certainly carried into this appointment, I was particularly astonished by Elder McClune's powerful teaching as we shared the Restoration with Brother K. We are teaching him again today he has already confirmed this appointment and kept in contact with us between these appointments, we are both every excited to see his progress.

W.T., we contacted and got the ever sought after "wow, that wasn't even 24 hours ago I did that" from this family when we arrived, we set up an appointment the next day, He was outside on the porch waiting for us upon arriving...at first I was skeptical of his sincerity, but he dug out his copy of the Book of Mormon he received years ago and had started reading it upon our second teaching appointment, and then the spiritual cogs began to turn and my hope for him shot through the roof the difference between the first and second teaching appointment was like night and day and I give full credit to power of the Book of Mormon.

Brother B. has also been a joy to visit, He is fabulous in keeping his commitments, and we prepare for our visits with him and the spirit without fail has been there as we teach this wonderful brother. One thing I must note was our hope for him to accept home teachers, which we previously asked him if we could bring his home teacher, to which he said no...now a month later, and 5 visits. We prayed that the spirit would soften his heart as we again extend this invitation to accept home teachers...At the end of the lesson I truly felt a genuine love for this man explaining we will be patient but as we come and go I so badly want him to have a good friend who can come and feel the spirit in his home and look forward to feeling the spirit there as I do...and when we asked the spirit just filled the room and joyfully truly joyfully he accepted and allowed us to bring Home Teachers with us in future visits. Heavenly Father truly did hear our prayer and powerfully sent the spirit upon our hope.


I am absolutely exhausted, soooo tired, but these moments are what keep me going through the thick...

These are the top I feel to mention, there are others as usual, just with not the time to type it all. In other news, Everything is going well for our booth up at the Roanoke Star....however in downtown despite our very best efforts to organize a booth for Dickens of Christmas, I just don't think we are going to be able to swing it this year...simply because we are late in the game, After getting approval from Downtown Roanoke INC. we went to the parking company, which was willing to arrange an agreement with us to use a parking space for the cost of 10$ each night at Dickens, however we needed to provide liability insurance. Working with staff in the Mission Office we obtained a copy of the church's insurance certificate for general liability for stuff like this, took it back to the parking company and they needed another form etc. etc. which there just simply won't be time to do I fear.

ON THAT NOTE...Dickens of a Christmas is a huge success, even with just our presence, however I ache a little at what could have been possible (probably mostly because next year I won't be a missionary and I will envy those who will get to wear the tag and represent the lord at His own celebration)...We have to be ON TOP OF THE GAME next year...to take full advantage of this incredible event....this past weekend there was and estimated 40,000 people present, it was huge. I wouldn't and haven't spared any effort to harvest as much as we can from this event. We are going to be doing a lot after Christmas to insure that missionaries next year can stand on our shoulders and do even more with this incredible event.

Roanoke Light-up tree ornaments
Dickens of a Christmas parade
Thank you to all who sent Christmas gifts.

​"Oh Holy Night the stars are brightly shining" Merry Christmas all...

Elder Wheeler
ART


Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

Dearest All

The two big highlights from the week

Civil Dealings - I was so pleased with the excitement from the ward when they learned of our booth up at the Roanoke Star, the bishop was especially excited and asked the ward to volunteer time to come and join us at the star, which 10 families signed up for various times to join us in sharing the Christmas Spirit with their fellow citizens of Roanoke.

At the beginning of the week we received permission from the Roanoke City Parks and Recreation Department to set up at the star...then a couple days later we received another phone call, informing us that we could not do that and proselyting in the parks was against the city's rules and ordinances. Confused I, thought that was strange and seemed a little off-color and limiting of the freedom of religion, so I took some time to read up on the freedom of religion in the public square on LDS.org and Mormon Newsroom. After learning a bit more about the topic and following the council from the prophet and various other apostles who all were in harmony in the message of "be civil" and "stand-up for these precious rights".

The next step we took was to learn the city's official policy so we went the city clerk's office, the staff was very helpful and pointed us to a city ordinance which in short said: We should be able to set-up a booth and express our views in public places in the city so long as we notify the city of our time and location we intend to be there. The city clerk recommended we see the city attorney to verify the interpretation of the ordinance. The city attorney was my favorite, very kind man and was a perfect help. We shared with him our full intentions and plans, and our concern. We told him we are happy to go through any permits and processes to get permission along with examples of similar events in previous cities in Kentucky and West Virginia.

The next day he called us and informed us that we would be able to proceed with our plans and directed us to the personnel we would need contact to get an assembly permit, (to be on the safe side since we intend to set-up a table and such) and also that regular proselytizing (walking-and-talking) is indeed permitted at anytime in the parks and city public spaces (sidewalks etc.) The city attorney was very pleased and mentioned his gratitude in our approach. He cleared everything up with the parks and recreation department mentioned he was grateful we do what we do.

Dickens of a Christmas - Smashing success, the Christmas spirit was well and alive and the people of Roanoke gladly welcomed us in brining the true meaning of Christmas to this incredible event, the night was full of singing and service, and countless opportunities to share the restored gospel many of which were captured. The zone leaders ended up being stuck in traffic and were an hour late and asked Elder Numbers and I (both former zone leaders) to get the zone organized and where we needed to be at the various tasks the city had. It was great to get everyone going, it felt like Lagoon again or Disneyland the streets were closed and the shops decorated it felt just like a theme park atmosphere, they even had a whole cast of actors in turn of the century clothes going around spreading Christmas cheer, with various acts and such.

We searched out the possibility of hosting our own A Savior is Born booth, but all the booth spaces were full and the retailers to busy to fit another group. However for next week we have two options we discovered that we will look into one is to rent a parking space (I noticed a hot dog stand who did something similar) in a lot right where the line for carriage rides forms and a good number of the zone was helping group people and assist in loading and unloading carriages and singing Christmas carols with the crowd in line (well over 100 people) then talking with the most noticeable participants which were usually families with small children between intervals. It would be a perfect fit, we will be getting in touch with the parking company this week to try to get this arranged.

Also we are gaining a teaching pool! I am so excited for C. and her husband, who were the worlds greatest media referral! Asking for a Book of Mormon, when we came to the door she said "I wanted to read it first to see if I want to join the church, I have met several Mormons and they are all so nice and happy" We shared short restoration lesson and she wanted to get right into reading so we arranged to follow-up next week...We are both praying fervently and all our hope for this young couple. So grateful for this referral and certainly feel blessed by it and this amazing opportunity and am so grateful for the members who were examples in living and sharing the gospel without words.

Love Elder Wheeler

Roanoke sights and Lights
Dickens of a Christmas...part 1 Dickens of a Christmas attracts thousands from all over the state and even into West Virginia...and is every Friday Night in December before Christmas.
The Carriage and Carol Crew
Sunset from a beautiful neighborhood up the road from us on Yellow Mountain, we tracted yesterday afternoon.

Our Christmas Card...This was Elder Bosen, Elder McClune, Elder Blake and I following the Christmas Devotional and Dinner at the Hodge Home.

Love yins
Elder Wheeler
-ART