Saturday, February 23, 2013

Elder Bednar Visit

Dear Family,
Sorry for the delayed letter.  The library was closed yesterday.  We have been doing great this week.  It's funny how I'm in the same area, but everything feels new because I have Sister Martell here with me.  She is a great fit for the area, for our investigators, and for me.  She is very sweet and very smart and has a clear vision of how to study, prepare to teach, and teach.  So basically I do absolutely nothing to train her.  I have always thought that being a trainer is not any different than not being a trainer.  What I mean to say is there is no reason for me to act like I know more than she does.  I am here to learn from her as much as she is here to learn from me.  She has taught me many things.  So I love working with her because we both love to work and we get things done!  Plus we have been blessed with our investigators this week.  They are making progress and we have seen some miracles.
First of all, last weekend we had a very special opportunity to have Elder Bednar come to our mission.  We had a meeting with him and all the missionaries in Little Rock on Saturday.  Basically the whole meeting was Elder Bednar teaching us a pattern for receiving revelation.  He taught that we are agents to act rather than be acted upon.  So if we want to learn by the spirit, we have got to ask questions, pray, and then act by application.  We came prepared by reading a few talks he asked us to read, and when we got there, he asked us what we learned.  Missionaries stood and shared insights.  He would ask questions to help us learn more.  I wish I could go into more detail, but it was a wonderful experience.  Afterward, I got to meet him which was cool.  We think of apostles as these incredible men that are untouchable-which, don't get me wrong.  They are.  But, I was impressed during the meeting that Elder Bednar is just a normal person.  He really is.  I didn't feel intimidated in the slightest.  Everyone was completely at ease and we were able to learn together.  I then thought of my dear mission president.  I feel the same way around him that I do around Elder Bednar.  I think he is every bit as godly of a man as Elder Bednar is.  So I feel like I know an apostle because I know President Petersen. :)  I am grateful for him.   Also at the meeting was the presiding bishop, Bishop Stevenson, and Elder Maynes(spelling?) who is one of the presidents of the 70.  They were wonderful as well.
One of the best things about that day actually happened after the meeting.  We had gotten a ride to little rock with a member, and were waiting in his van for everyone to get there so we could go back to Memphis.  As I sat there, I saw President Palmer!  (The branch president of the Glenwood branch which was my first area).  I was overjoyed to see him.  I really can't tell you how happy I was.  I ran up to him and shouted his name and he immediately hugged me.  I guess I'm not supposed to do that, but it really wasn't my fault.  It was so good to see him again.  He expressed that they missed me in Glenwood, which meant a lot to me.  I miss them too.  We talked about one of the families I was closest to-the Burnetts.  Brother Burnett just passed away.  He was only in his 60s.  Sister Burnett is hanging in there, and is about to be called as a branch missionary.  She was pretty much already the branch missionary when we were there.  she helped us so much.  Brother Bledsoe is still doing great.  He is about to get a calling too.  In the elders quorum presidency!  I'm so happy for him. 
The next day we had a special stake conference with Elder Maynes.  President and Sister Petersen also spoke at it.  It was a great meeting.  We had our investigators Terri and Debbie there with us. Both are progressing very well. Terri's baptism is set for this Saturday. Debbie has truly been changing over the course of meeting with us. She has attended church the past two weeks and is planning on being at the baptism on Saturday. We feel very blessed that she is accepting the promptings of the spirit in her life. We know that is is truly because she has chosen to be receptive to them.

When Elder Kipichke came to our mission last month, he told a story of a missionary he had while he was a mission president.  This missionary would write to him in her weekly email and frequently mention that she found a b.i.e.  After reading a few references to her b.i.e., he was puzzled at the meaning of it.  He asked her, "Now sister, what is this b.i.e. you are talking about?"   She replied, "Best Investigator Ever!"  :)
Well I'm happy to tell you all that we found a b.i.e.!! Last monday we were contacting referrals, and went to an apartment that we thought was the home of the referral we needed to contact. Come to find out, it was not. However, the man we met was touched by our visit. His name is Skyler. We taught him a little bit about the Restoration, and he knew that this was a sign of God's love for him. He said that he was going through a hard time in his life, and that God sending us to him was the best thing that had happened to him in 3 years. We were likewise touched. The spirit was there and we invited him to church. We have gotten a ward member involved, and feel hopeful that he will continue to progress.
I love you all.
love sister wilde

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Companion

Dear Family,
I've had a long and great week.  I got to spend the first half of the week in Collierville with Sister T (Tumanuvao).  We had a wonderful time together.  It was like a spiritual re-charge.  However, it's probably that we didn't stay companions, because we would get nothing done.  haha.  Well last P day we went to a member's house (Sis Gardner) to hang out.  Did I tell you about when we did a musical number when Elder Kepichke of the 70 came to our mission?  We did I know that My Redeemer Lives combined with I feel my Savior's love.  I played for her and Sis Yuen and Sis B to sing.  Well we were playing piano and messing around and decided to just sing it together while I played.  It turns out it sounded awesome.  Well Sis Gardner heard it and asked if we would sing it for her early morning seminary class the next day.  What a beautiful experience it was to do that.  I got to express my testimony through music-which is probably the way I express it best.  I do know that my Redeemer lives.  
Somehow Sis T and I got talking about grocery stores, specifically Maceys, and I mentioned that I liked that store because I could feel the spirit in there.  She said, "me too!"  So I'm not a complete freak for thinking that!  :)
Well I have a new companion.  Her name is Sister Martell from Stansbury Park UT.  It's by Tooele.  She's fresh out of the MTC.  I like her a lot.  We already work great together.  I know she will help me to be the missionary that I need to be.  We have had a few great experiences with prayer finding.  Prayer finding is when we knock on doors we feel inspired to knock on and ask if we can leave the Savior's peace and blessing on their home and their family.  I like this approach because it helps others understand that we are not there to shove religion down their throat, but to bless them as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On transfer day when all the arriving missionaries came, this elder marched right up to me and said, "I worked with your brother Elliot!"  All I could do was grin.  This made me very happy.  Then he told me that he also went to school with Cameron.  I just feel really happy about that.  His name is Elder Randall. 
Debbie came to church yesterday!!!  She had said before the meeting that she had to leave after the first hour, but when sacrament meeting was over she told us she changed her mind. She felt the spirit there. The relief society lesson was about testimony and conversion. Sisters shared sacred experiences of the spirit witnessing to them of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of mormon. Debbie turned to us and said, "I gotta be Mormon. That's what this is tellin me." We pray for her continual progression.
Breaking news.  I rode my bike for the first time in my entire mission on Friday!!  It was really fun at the same time that it was horrible.  Haha.  Biking up hills on busy streets, with a bag, wearing a hideous helmet, IN A SKIRT.  I have nothing more to say.
One night last week, we had dinner with the stake president and his wife.  He asked where I was from.  I said Provo.  He asked where in Provo.  As I explained to him where I live, he said, "So that means you must have gone to Dixon Middle School and Provo High School".  "...How did you know that?"  Well he went to those schools too.  Turns out he's only 2 years older than my parents.  THEN we found both of my parents in the yearbook!!!!  Dad was tiny!  And Cameron looks like him in that picture.  And I had never seen that picture of Mom, it was beautiful.  Mom and Dad, do you know a Claude Zobell?  Apparently he was the yearbook editor.
I love you all.  I know the gospel is true or I wouldn't be riding a bike in a skirt in order to tell people.  Just kidding, it really wasn't that bad.
love sister wilde

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Companion Coming Soon!!

Dear Family,
Okay, I'm going to open up a little bit.  I am mildly worried that this is going to be put up all over the internet.  Just kidding.  Well you all know that change has been in the wind for quite a while now.  Last night it started getting really windy.  We had a great week together, Sister B and I.  She is truly a sister to me.  I love her dearly.  I can't really tell you about everything that happened, although I wish I could.  But we had a great week.  Debbie has taken strides this week.  We taught her last Saturday about the priesthood.  I showed her a picture of Christ laying His hands on one of His apostle's heads to give him the priesthood.  I then showed her a picture of Peter, James, and John giving Joseph Smith the priesthood in the same way.  As she compared the pictures, the spirit filled the room.  I exclaimed the first thing that came to my mind: "The priesthood is so cool, I know it's true!"  I told Debbie that the feeling she was experiencing right then was the Holy Ghost and that after she was baptized, she could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  She smiled at me and said, "how did you know I was feeling that?"  I told her it was because I felt it too.  The Holy Ghost is real.  He can cleanse our souls and wash out feelings of negativity.
During that same lesson Debbie taught me a great lesson.  We were talking about where I am from, and how there is a lot of snow and ice in the winter.  I started carrying on about how I worried about my mother because I didn't want anything bad to happen to her in the bad weather.  Debbie looked at me with that smile again, shaking her head-as though she were astonished that I couldn't see what she could see.  She said, "Why you got to be worried when she's already protected?  You got Heavenly Father."  She was so right.  Here I am teaching her to rely on the Savior and the plan of salvation- and I wasn't even doing that.  She has a lot of faith, Debbie does.
Back to last night.  We had to eat 3 meals in a row..that was not pleasant.  But it was really sweet of all the people who fed us.  We got to eat with the Robisons again (the coolest people ever).  I wish you could go inside their home..the spirit there seems to wrap around you and you never want to leave.  Their home is a place of learning and respect.  Sister Robison made Sis B and me cry.  It's not that hard to make me cry anymore, but even Sis B!  Oh I want to tell you this story that a man shared in testimony meeting yesterday.  He is in the military, and just returned from Afghanistan.  He stood to bear his testimony about how he had a blessing that he would return home safely.  He shared the experiences where the Lord protected him. One of his biggest worries was whether his family would be taken care of.  His wife is pregnant and they have 3 kids.  One week, she was too sick to go to the store, so they ate the food they had in the house.  One night, their little girl asked her mom for a cookie.  She told her that they didn't have any, and that she would have to wait for them to be able to make it to the store.  The little girl said, "but I really want a cookie, Mom".  Just then the doorbell rang.  It was the youth- singing christmas carols with a plate of cookies in their hands.  I know you're probably thinking that these stories only come from the Ensign, but really-things like this can happen to us all the time if we will look beyond ourselves, pray to be able to help someone, and reach out in love.  And even if people aren't receptive of that, no effort is wasted.
Well I've been worried about a lot of things lately.  Needless to say, I know.  I had an experience today at the temple that I would like to share with you.  This one EFY song kept playing in my head during the session. I didn't know why because I haven't listened to it in a little while. When I finally paid attention to the words, I knew why. "Power in the heavens, power in the plan. Power in discovery, learning who I am. There's power in obedience, the truth that sets us free. We find a sense of confidence. Power in purity". I felt the spirit come over me. I have been feeling extremely not confident for a few days, but this song taught me that I can find confidence in the Savior and His merciful plan of Salvation and atonement. He has sustained me through this day- I know He has.
I am in Collierville right now with Sister Tumanuvao (she's Samoan, Dad :)).  She is AWESOME.  I am super excited to spend a few days with her while I wait for my new companion.  With my companion of 6 months going home, I have come to realize even more how short my mission experience really is. I cherish it. I am seeking to learn and to give all that I can to this work. I have seen time and time again how important it is. I have felt the spirit testify to my heart of its truthfulness. I have made friends for eternity.  I know Heavenly Father loves His children.
Love Sister Wilde