Monday, March 25, 2013

Life is Great!

Hey Family,
My life is kind of awesome when you really think about it.  I wake up and exercise. (not for long enough-that's a down side).  Then I get to eat oatmeal and toast, which I really enjoy.  I've been eating the same thing for breakfast for about 7 months..I don't know why!  I just get in moods where I only want to eat one thing and then I eat it till I can't stand to eat it anymore.  Then I get 3 hours every day to study the scriptures.  Then I get to pray the rest of the day that Heavenly Father will lead me to those whom I can bless and help.  The two most important things a missionary does is to invite and to help.  The more I come to understand this, the better work gets done, and the less I focus on myself and feeling guilty for not doing more. 
Well, we have been working really really hard on our missionary music devotional.  It is titled "Ask in Faith".  The missionaries from the Memphis area are presenting it.  We are basically teaching the first lesson, The Restoration, in the form of song and testimony.  I am arranging a few of the pieces.  I am trying to have a lot of faith because I hardly have any time to practice.  But mom, you might be proud of me, I notated all the voice parts for the choir, so now they have music.  This is turning out to be a lot more work than I expected.  Also, it is becoming bigger than we expected.  We only expected about 10 wards to be involved in it, but a few of the missionaries talked to the stake presidents of both the Memphis and Memphis North stakes and now it is involving all of the two stakes!  I feel very strongly that this is part of the reason I am called to Memphis for this time.  This is my way of expressing my love for the Savior and inviting others to come to Him.  He truly will draw near unto us as we draw near unto Him.  When we truly look unto Him in every thought, use our words and actions to turn toward Him, He will abide with us. D&C 88:63, D&C6:36, Proverbs 3:5-6.  I know this devotional can change people's lives.
We had a very special experience with Debbie this week. One day, she was very upset about something. We had planned to go over to her house that day, but the way our day worked out, we felt that we needed to go over earlier than the time of our appointment. Right as we pulled up to her house, she called and asked if we could come over. She said she really needed to talk. I said, "Well we're at your front door!" "What?? So fast? How did you do that?" she said. She opened her door and then exclaimed "Oh my three little angels!". :) Well, over the course of our visit, it became clear to me that we needed to ask her if she would like a priesthood blessing. We asked and she accepted. Some elders came to give her a blessing. After it, she commented on the peace she felt. We had a discussion about the power of the priesthood and how it works according to her faith in Jesus Christ. She does have faith in Jesus Christ! Then Elder Shepherd said, "Debbie, do you mind if I ask you something? Are you preparing yourself to be baptized?" Now let me interject- We have been inviting Debbie for months to be baptized. She has some concerns. But to my surprise, she said that indeed she was preparing to be baptized but wouldn't set a date. Smoking is one of her hold ups. Well, Elder Shepherd looked at me and said, "Sister Wilde, invite her to be baptized right now!" As I waited for the right moment, these words came to my mind "Debbie, I promise you that if you will set a date to be baptized that the Lord will help you stop smoking". As I said them, for the first time, Debbie was silent. She just stared at me. After a few moments she said, "okay. I have faith in you." She had the faith to accept that invitation not because of me, but because of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ.

By the way Cameron, Gladys Knight is coming to our mission!!  Don't rub it in too hard... :)  We get her in May.  I am really excited for the turn out, after hearing that cameron's mission got 201 self-referrals.  That's money right there.
Remember last week when I told you that Sister Boston was the southern version of Aunt Denise?  Well, I found the southern version of Elliot.  I'm in heaven!!  I don't know why I didn't see it before.  We just had a new ward missionary called- Buzz Rayman.  He is a firefighter :)  The more I talk to him, the more I miss my brother Elliot.  He reminds me of him because whenever I'm done talking to him, my face hurts because I've been laughing so much.  I don't really know how to describe him, but I wish they could meet each other.
We found a few legit investigators this week..I really get excited about it.  Sister Heaton told me that my reactions remind her of Giselle off of Enchanted.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
Well wanna hear a cool story?  It didn't happen to us, it happened to the Millington elders.  Last sunday they were having a rough day.  At the end of the day, they were walking in to their apartment when they saw a girl sitting on the stairs.  She looked upset.  They decided to go talk to her and give her a pass along card.  The more they talked, the more she opened up.  She told them that right before they came walking in, she had been praying for a friend to come to her.
Heavenly Father is so cool!
I love and pray for you all.  Hope you have a good week, and hang in there.
love sister wilde

Sunday, March 24, 2013

6th Transfer

(Sorry it took me a few days to post.  Alas, here is her most recent letter!) 

Dear Family,
Another week has passed.  I am still here in Bartlett.  I am beginning my 6th transfer here.  While my location stays the same, I am seeking to change each day.  Sister Martell has helped me greatly in that.  I got another companion this week.  Her name is Sister Heaton.  This is actually the last transfer of her mission, so I am praying that I can help her make it her best one.  Being in a trio again is...good.  An adjustment.  The tri-force 2 is much different than the tri-force 1.  I know it will be excellent though, because I have this awesome vision for us.  I want us to be able to walk into a home and have the people there feel the spirit working through all three of us as we teach and testify in the most simple way possible.  Sometimes missionaries just like to listen to themselves talk- and this is not teaching by the spirit!  If you have 3 missionaries doing that, it gets a little overwhelming.  That is why it will be that much more important to focus on teaching simple truths in a concise way, testify, and then let the spirit work with that person.  The title of this goal is:  success in the spirit.  The Holy Ghost is what makes us strong.  Read Helaman 4:24.  The Nephites did not have success because they did not have the spirit.  It made them weak.  Then read Ether 12:27.  Does it give you a different perspective?  I have been thinking about that and also the Book of Mormon in my studies lately.  Something I came to understand more fully this week is something a dear friend taught me. It is that while the Bible asks us to follow Christ, the Book of Mormon more clearly teaches why we follow Him and how we might effectively do so. Alma 7:14-15 teaches us the importance of baptism as a covenant. Our covenants to Heavenly Father are truly what sets us apart from everyone else. As we remember and obey the Savior, we will have His spirit, and will therefore be strong.  Covenants are so important!
I had a wonderful experience this week.  We are still teaching Maria, and have been struggling to help her to see the importance of these covenants.  We were in companionship study when we felt that we needed to take Maria for a lesson at the church.  We planned to do 3 mini lessons.  One in the Relief Society room(for Maria), one in the Primary room (for Gaby), and then end in the chapel.  We decided that we would choose a hymn to sing for them in each room and teach them the purpose for those classes.  Great idea, right?  I knew it was gonna be good, I could feel it.  As we came to the last part of planning our lesson, we needed to choose a song to sing in the chapel that focused on the Savior.  Sister Heaton said, "what about hymn 187?"  It was right then that I remembered a sweet experience Mom shared with me in a letter I received the night before.  I thought, oh that's the one we need to do!  As I opened the hymn book, I came to see that it was the exact same one Sister Heaton had just suggested.  God loved us, So He sent His Son.  I knew the spirit spoke to Sister Heaton and also my dear sweet mother as she shared her thoughts about that hymn.  The best part is the 3rd verse when it talks about how we hold a place in the Savior's heart.  Well, we put our plan into action.  We sang that hymn for Maria.  Afterwards, I read my mom's testimony/experience from her letter to Maria.  I shared with her how much  I love my mom and am grateful that she showed me the reality of the kind of love Jesus Christ has for us.  It is evident in the covenants we make to serve, remember, and follow Him.  Then I gave her one of the bookmarks my mom made.  The best part was that our lesson was on March 15, my mom's birthday.  I felt happy that I could do something small to honor my mother who has given so much of herself so that I could understand more clearly what love is.  
For the closing hymn in church yesterday, we sang "I am a child of God".  It was great because all the primary children knew it-and it was like the room came alive! The children sat up straighter and sang with all their hearts.  "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way".  I couldn't help the smile that came to my face, and as I looked around, everyone else was smiling too.  The spirit of the Lord was there.  It just was!  It was unmistakable.  I think of the power I felt then and all the new missionaries that are coming out now and pray that we can purify ourselves so that we can carry that to the world.  When we truly have the spirit of the Lord with us, it will be unmistakable.
One of the speakers in church yesterday was Sister Boston. I. Love. Sister. Boston.  I have thought this before, but realized again yesterday that Sister Boston is like the southern version of Aunt Denise.  What could be better?!  She said in her talk, "It's good to give talks. It's good to teach lessons."  She went on to say that it helped you learn things you didn't know before, but I felt like I could really hear my Aunt Denise saying that.  Always encouraging me to serve faithfully in my callings cause she always did. I get sorta homesick for my Aunt Denise when I am with Sister Boston.  Someone was trying to guess my name the other day and one of their guesses was Anna-lou.  More memories of Aunt Denise...
We found 3 legit investigators this week.  I'll tell you about them next letter..I think my letters may be too long, especially judging from Cameron's. :)  I am proud of him though.
I love you all.
love sister wilde   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time is Flying By!

Dear family,
This has been a short transfer.  Transfers are already Wednesday.  Already!  I can't believe I've had Sister Martell for 5 weeks.  I really love being her companion.  We just found out that we are getting another sister on Wednesday.  She's not a new one.  This is actually her last transfer.  It is also Sister Gladden's last transfer.  Missions go by so quickly but at the same time so slowly.  That is why it's important to live in the moment.
I've learned a lot of things this week.  We had an exchange with the Jonesboro sisters, Sister Gladden and Sister Christensen.  On Friday, we met halfway- in Marked Tree Arkansas.  That's the name of the city.  Marked Tree.  Sis Martell went with Sis Gladden and Sis Christensen came with me.  It was a fun time, except for that Sis Christensen got a really bad migraine on Saturday so we had to stay in the apartment all day. haha.  So..funny story.  We were apparently supposed to meet back at marked tree on Saturday at 3:45.  Well for some reason I thought it was supposed to be at 4:45.  So I was driving there, and Sis Christensen was completely out of it the whole way.  We pulled up to our meeting spot to find Sister Gladden with the deadliest of glares I've ever seen.  I could see her mouthing the words "I'M NOT HAPPY WITH YOU".  I thought it was a joke.  She then rolled down the window and said again "I'm. Not. Happy. With. You.  You could have been dead at the side of the street.  We called your zone leaders and they said you left at 3. We called you a million times and you never answered."  Well, I'm sorry!  Sister Christensen was concentrating on not throwing up!  And then I started crying a little.  haha.  It's been a while since I've been yelled at.  But it was sorta like getting yelled at from my mom.  It makes me feel bad but she's my mom.  I don't know if the story sounds funny to you, but it was pretty funny. At the same time not funny.  sister Christensen just completely forgot about the phone..haha.  It all ended up being fine.  But Sister Martell had a great time with her grandma.  She described as Sister Gladden getting her all hyped up and then sending her home back to her mom.  haha.  :)
During our lesson with Maria and Gabby(6yrs) this week, we were talking about Heavenly Father.  Gabby said, "My mom told me that God is in my heart.  I didn't know that before.  But when she told me, I knew it."  That was the sweetest instance of the faith of a child.  It touched me.  Have you seen the new mormon message "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father"?  That's what it reminds me of.  You should watch it.
I was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday when who should walk into the chapel but Brad Wilcox!  It made me very excited.  Especially because we had been talking about him and one of his talks just the day before.  I got to talk to him and find out that Whitney is on her mission in Spain.  Very excited.  I think I also met Michael McClain.  Without knowing it.  I didn't know what he looked like.  I was informed after the fact that that's who it was.  Then me and Brother Seaman played a game of my dog's bigger than your dog.  I told him that I grew up with Brad Wilcox's kids.  He then told me an assortment of other facts that totally beat my comment...I don't even remember what he said.  He usually one-ups me though.  That's okay, I got over it.  Because I'm pretty sure my dad can still yell louder.:)
Here are some things I learned this week.  
-Faith is not only a feeling; It's a decision
-If you want to have more strength in your home, sing a hymn with your family at night and then take turns praying aloud.  Each one.  
One more funny story.  We were eating dinnner with the Eaton family last week, and as we began dinner, Brother Eaton said, "so I'm on a new diet".  We said, "Oh?  What's that?"  He said, "It's an indian diet".  "So, what does that entail?"  "Well basically, if Captain Moroni didn't eat it, I'm not gonna eat it".  :)
It might not sound that funny, but it really was.
I love you all.
love sister wilde

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Teaching with Music

Dear Family,
I am mindful of you always, but especially at this time.  Me and a few elders have been putting together a missionary music devotional.  I have been arranging a few pieces, one of which is a combination of I am a Child of God and Families can be Together Forever.  I had the opportunity to work on that song this weekend with them.  Music always seems to pull me to higher heights and uplifting thoughts.  Many times the answers to my prayers come through music.  These words seemed especially significant to me as I played.  "I always want to be with my own family" and "I am a child of God".  I love each of you very much.  In church yesterday, Sister Robison stood and bore testimony that we are children of God.  I'm convinced that the words sent to her were inspired by God and were in part for me.  She said that some trials are not necessarily for our strengthening or testing but for us to remember who we are.  Heavenly Father wants us to square our shoulders and know that we are His children.  That is our nature-and inherent in that nature is our ability to endure in a brilliant way.  I felt in my heart that this is true.
We had a special experience this week. One of the recent converts in our ward had a stroke this past week. Sister Martell and I went with another lady in the ward named Sister Jensen to visit her in the hospital. While there, I felt that we should sing to her. We sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". A sweet spirit filled the room. Afterward, Sister Jensen told us that she was teaching a lesson in Relief Society on sunday about the temple. She was touched by the hymn we sang earlier and asked if we would sing a song about the temple in her lesson. We began to think about what we could sing. All we could think of was "I Love to See the Temple". While we love that song, it didn't feel like the right one. As we were getting ready for church yesterday morning, Sister Martell had her music playing. We heard a song about the temple that I had never heard before. The words were perfect! They really painted the picture of the feelings and blessings found in the temple. We both felt prompted to sing it for Relief Society. I am happy that Heavenly Father sent us that song right when we needed it. It reminded me of the importance of ordinances and covenants. Those things will truly be our anchor in times of trial. Because Heavenly Father has promised us everything that we really need in this life! If we keep our covenants, we will be blessed and strengthened to do whatever He asks us to do. Perhaps the greatest thing we can learn through our trials is understanding. We will have eyes to see that our hardships help us realize our need for divine help. Our circumstances are the means by which we can feel the love of God. Christ can have a fulness of joy because he understands what it took to get there. We are here so that we might learn to do the same. Men are that they might have joy.
Sister Martell and I have seemed to study the exact same things this week without knowing what the other one was studying.  We have truly had revelatory experiences.  I know that as we consistently pray and read the scriptures personally and as a family (or companionship) that the spirit of the Lord will come into our lives in a gradual way.  This spirit will change our lives if we will allow it to.
There's more I'd love to say, but for now I would hope that each of you know my love for you.  I honestly wouldn't be here if I didn't love you and love the Lord enough to realize the importance of representing Him. 
love sister wilde