Monday, April 15, 2013

An Emotional Week

Dear Family,
It's been an emotional week.  We had our devotional on went really well.  I was very happy with it, except that I wish more people were there.  But we filled the chapel and about a third of the cultural hall.  The spirit testified of truth.  The program all fell into place.  The speakers bore powerful testimony of the Savior, the choir did great, I didn't mess them up too bad, I remembered all the songs I arranged, it was a miracle!  I felt so humbled and privileged to have had the opportunity to share my testimony in the best way I know how.  I wish you all could have been there.  The most amazing part was truly witnessing how the Lord's hand was guiding the entire thing.  Because I know we couldn't have put this all together and have it flow the way it did without Him.  After the devotional, people said very kind things.  Some were impressed with the magnitude of the program-coming from 18-22 year old kids.  I was the first to tell them that it wasn't me!  It was just very exciting to be able to share that with the people here.  It's kinda like what I live for.  Other people thought this was good enough to be put on in other missions. 
We had an amazing lesson with Debbie this week.  She was supposed to be getting baptized on the 13th.  She decided that she wanted to wait, to learn more.  She has some other struggles right now.  We got the impression this past week that she really needed to learn about the Holy Ghost.  During our planning for her, revelation truly flowed.  We came up with this object lesson to teach her about the difference between the influence of the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We set up a huge obstacle course in the cultural hall at the church.  Her object was to make it across the gym to the stage.  But the first time, she had to do it without any light.  She stumbled her way in the dark, tripping on chairs and other things in the way.  We took her out of the gym and explained that that was like going through life without Heavenly Father at all.  We changed the obstacle course and invited her in again.  This time, I played the role of the Holy Ghost.  I held a flashlight in my hand.  I would briefly flash the light on and then off again as she asked for my help.  Her path was illuminated for a short spurt.  Just enough to walk a few steps.  But the darkness returned.  The more she asked for help, the more light she received.  She made it about half way across the gym where there was a wall of chairs blocking the way.  There was only one opening to get through.  This opening represented baptism.  That is the only way we can make it to the stage (our Father in Heaven) because taking upon ourselves the name of Christ by keeping covenants is the only way we can become like our Father in Heaven.  Once she found the opening, I gave her the flashlight.  With the gift of the Holy Ghost, she will have the power to have that light with her constantly lighting her way.  Who wouldn't want this?!  When I gave her the flashlight, Debbie said, "I understand.  I don't need to go through any more" which I said, "But Debbie!  You don't even know how good it's going to get!"  As she progressed closer and closer to the stage, we started flipping on more and more lights. The more we follow the spirit, the more light we receive through the spirit.  Then the light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.  Debbie made it to the stage.  I could tell she was feeling the spirit by the look in her eyes.  She said, "I understand.  I've got to get baptized".  She shared some things with us that were very special.  I had no way of knowing exactly what was going on in her life..but the spirit we felt in that room was a testimony to me that God did.  This lesson was truly exactly what Debbie needed.  And Heavenly Father gave her what she needed because He planned the lesson.  
Well, it is kind of a long story after that..but we'll just skip to the part that we think she will be getting baptized this Saturday. :)
Earlier last week, we drove to the church to meet up with Karissa to go on splits.  We saw a couple pull up next to us.  They got out and looked at the temple.  I asked them if they needed anything.  (I wanted to find out if they were non-members, because we have met random people who come look at the temple who are not members).  Turns out it was a couple from Manti UT who were on a roadtrip.  They are actually ordinance workers at the Manti Temple.  I asked them if they knew Aunt Margaret but they said no.  They mentioned that they needed to get going to find a hotel so that they could be on their way the next morning.  Well it just so happens that I know a member of the church who runs a hotel here.  I was really excited to tell them about it.  I called Brother Boston to tell him that I found a couple who needed a hotel room.  He gave them the LDS rate ($79 instead of $120), called the lady at the front desk to tell them they were coming, gave me the address, and I sent them on their way.  I had a good time with it because I felt like I was doing the job that Elder Nelson promised I would do when he said, "Ask the missionaries!  They can help you!".
President tells us that the bookends to a mission are diligence and virtue.  I think it's true...with each passing day, I realize how much room I have for improvement.  Ah well.. I'm getting transferred.  I haven't really been able to sleep because I'm so sad.  Like I didn't know this would happen...I just really can't express to you my love for these people.  Also, Sister Gladden goes home next week.  I'm not really sure how this all happened...
I love you all.  
love sister wilde  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another Great Week in Bartlett!

Hey family-
Another great week in Bartlett.  Full of the normal awesome stuff, some disappointment, miracles, rehearsals, good food, good music, good scriptures, prayer, CHRISTMAS(general conference), and sickness.  Everyone is getting this weird cold thing.  I usually bypass all that stuff but this time I got it.  We are getting closer to the day of the devotional.  It's this Saturday.  I am pretty sure Heavenly Father seriously helped me arrange these songs cause I have had very limited time.  I laughed out of guilt when I got a letter from Dad this week.  He told me he was excited about this devotional we are doing.  He then said, "we know you don't have time to tell us about it".  Oh dear.  I really leave you that far out of the loop?  Well, I'll tell you anything you want to know! :)  Its going to be awesome!  It's coming together, and I really feel that it was by revelation that the missionaries who are here are here at this time.  We are teaching the Restoration in song and testimony form.  I am arranging the two choir pieces -the first is I am a Child of God combined with Families can be Together Forever.  The second is How Firm a Foundation.  I wish you could see this whole thing.. the third piece I arranged is a piano solo I'm doing- Abide with me, Tis Eventide.  The funny part is,  President Eyring's talk on Saturday morning is my inspiration for the entire arrangement!  As I studied the words of the song and the scriptures at the end, I realized that it lists mine and Dad's favorite scripture in the new testament.  It has a special place in my heart because I share the love of this scripture with my Dad, and it also expresses some of my tender feelings for the Savior of the world.  "Did not our heart burn within us as he talked with us by the way, and while he opened unto us the scriptures?"  (That may not be an exact quote, but you can look it up.  Luke 24:32).  Heavenly Father wrote that arrangement, and I get to play it.  I'm excited.
I had another sweet experience with music this week.  Did I tell you that a guitar came into my posession?  I'm such a lucky duck!  I've been playing it for a few weeks now.  It belongs to Billy.  Billy Joe Hill. :)  Cutest southern man you'll ever meet.  Once we were at his house and he mentioned that he had a guitar that he used to play but hasn't pulled it out in a while.  I asked if I could play it.  We played and sang a few hymns and then Billy decided that we needed to play in church.  I didn't have the heart to break it to him that guitars aren't really sacrament meeting appropriate now every time he sees us he says, "now..y'all girls are singin in church with that guitar in the mornin, aren't ya?"  I keep telling him I'll talk to the bishop.  Well..I talked to the bishop and it's a no go.  We haven't broken it to him.  But anyway, the other night, we brought the guitar to share an easter message and some easter hymns.  Billy's 5yr  old grandson Peyton (who, just moments earlier was flying around the room and fighting with his brother) sat perfectly still for the songs, and then asked if we would sing more.  We sang 'Teach me to walk in the Light'. Before we sang, I explained to Billy that the first verse was the child singing, asking their parent to teach them in the ways of Christ.  The second verse is the parent's response.  The third verse is both of them singing together.  I shared with him that once I got to sing this song with my mommy, and how special that was to me.  I would not know what a loving, Christ-centered home was if it weren't for my angel parents.  Billy really enjoyed that song and asked if we would sing it in church.  I'm sure we can arrange something.  I'll have to get over this cold first though.
Our new investigator Kendall is progressing.  He attended every session of conference, including the priesthood session!  I was so proud.  In one of our lessons with him last week, we were talking about the Restoration. We felt prompted to invite him to be baptized. He responded, "Well, I haven't prayed about it. Give me a minute". He said a silent prayer to himself, looked up at us and said "I don't see a problem with it!". Sweet! At that point, I knew we needed to set a specific date with him. April 20th immediately popped into my head. So I said that we would be holding a baptismal service on April 20th, and would he prepare himself to be baptized on that date. He said "I was hoping you'd say anything but April 20th!!" Apparently April 20th is national marajuana day and he always smokes a joint at 4:20 on 4/20. Well not this year! He's getting baptized instead!
I am amazed by the truth that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives.  We had a cool experience last week because of a long chain of seemingly horrible events!  It all started with someone running into the back of our corolla when Lakeland had it.  So when we got the car, we immediately lost it because we had to take it into the shop to get fixed.  So there we were last p-day, with no car.  Again.  (By the way Cameron, when I read your letter about how you lost your car and are now on full bike, I felt very humbled.  I may or may not have cried because I am so proud of you and the spiritual knowledge you are gaining:).  It was actually almost embarrassing how much I cried.  Cause you are doing a great work).  We just so happened to have the package Mom sent me for easter, and since we didn't have a car, I had to carry it with me.  Well, correction.  Sis Martell put it in her bag.  So I didn't even have to.  We went shopping at Kroger, and then found ourselves waiting outside the store with our grocery cart, hoping Sister Reiersen didn't forget to come pick us up.  Sometimes she forgets.  I decided to open the package from my mom.  As expected, there was an abundance of candy.  I pulled out the treats for my companions.  As I did, this worker from Kroger was passing by.  He said, "oh yall got candy over there?!"  I said, "Yeah, do you want some??"  He accepted.  We started talking a little bit and then he said, " hey are yall mormons?"  "Yeah, how'd you know?"  He said that missionaries used to come visit him and his family in the past, but then they moved and lost touch.  I asked if he wanted missionaries to come visit him again.  He said yes!  I was so happy that we were right there in front of Kroger, with no car, and my mom's candy!  Good job mom-bringin people to Jesus one Cadbury egg at a time.  Next time could you send granola bars?  I get fed waay too much sugar. :)
I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I love you, pray for you, and think of you more than you know.
love sister wilde

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Dear Family,
This has been a week of struggles, learning, and miracles.  I had a wonderful Easter!  Although I missed you all very much, especially when you did Wilde family easter egg hunt (which is the best kind of easter egg hunt),  I have sadly gotten accustomed to not being home.  I will be very happy when I can think about our family activities and actually be able to participate again.  But this weekend was totally worth it.  We saw some miracles.
Last weekend we were informed that Maria's son's friend passed away.  We weren't able to meet with her at all this week or last. 
(This is an important detail, so remember it).
On Tuesday we got to meet with a less active couple.  They are really struggling right now.  Among other things, their friend Aaron had just been killed in a very horrible way while he was at work.  He was only 19yrs old.  The spirit filled the room as the wife bore her testimony to her husband about Jesus Christ and how He gives us the hope and comfort that we need.  They received priesthood blessings from the elders that were with us.  One really cool thing about it was that Elder Whelan, who gave the wife a blessing, said after both of the blessings that there was something that Heavenly Father wanted to tell her in the blessing but that he had failed to mention it.  It was that as they live the gospel, they will be blessed in their marriage.  As he said this, tears streamed down her face.  She expressed that he couldn't possibly know how much this meant to her.  That was the blessing that she was truly seeking, which Elder Whelan could not have known because that was the first day he met her.
Later that day, we went out to teach with sister Carnahan(who is good friends with Maria).  It was then that we were able to piece everything together.  Maria's son's friend and the friend of this couple was the same young man!  How small of a world.  We went to the viewing that night to support Maria.  It was a very sad occasion.    
On Thursday, we felt that we needed to go see a less active family.  I had only met this sister once, very briefly.  I knew that Bro Donald (their home teacher) was very faithful in his home teaching and helping the family how ever he could.  As we came to the door, a young man answered.  His name is Bobby.  We talked with him for a few minutes.  Nothing special.  Just got to know him, invited him to our missionary devotional...he told us that he was always really happy to see the missionaries and thanked us for coming.  He asked what time church was.  In my mind, I admit that I had doubt about him actually showing up...just because of past experiences, and the fact that they havn't been to church in probably 10 years. 
Yesterday, I stood at the door of the chapel handing out programs and welcoming people to church when I saw Bobby and his mother walk in the doors.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I began to cry.  Bobby knew that was where he was supposed to be.  It was special for me to look at him with such joy and sincerely tell him how happy I was to see him at church.  I made sure to watch as he went to meet Bro Donald.  His face absolutely lit up.  After the meeting, we talked with Bro Donald about that miracle.  Tears came to his eyes as he related his experiences with the family and the real hardships and darkness that they pass through.  There is a lot of need in the world.  And honestly, Jesus Christ is the only answer.
On Saturday morning I was doing my personal study when the phone rang. I began to talk with this guy named Kendall who had just called the temple and gotten the missionaries' phone number.  He wanted to know all about our church.  He had heard a lot of bad things, but had met some LDS people who impressed him.  He had tried every religion except Mormon.  He did some research and likes what he knows so far.  It was pretty cool, seeing as I hardly ever receive phone calls like that.  In my pleasantly surprised voice, I said, "We can help you!"  He wanted to meet at the church the same morning because his house was too crazy of a place.  So then I had to find a way to get him to the church.  One of the recently returned missionaries(Cameron) in the Bartlett wards came to mind.  I texted him and he was able to go get him.  We did a great lesson and a church tour with him.  He was touched and committed to come to church the next day.  Cameron shared with us that he had originally planned to go to Nashville that day to see a family from his mission, but when he woke up that morning he had a really bad feeling.  Heavenly Father is so cool! He knew we needed help that day, and more importantly, he knew Kendall needed help that day.  Kendall had prayed the night before for a long time because he felt distant from God.  He woke up in the morning and just happened to see an LDS "ad" on facebook.  (Ad?  I don't know what to call it.)  That's when he looked up the phone number for the temple and got our phone number.  I hope that wasn't a confusing story.  It was really cool.
But it's not even over yet.  As we passed by the family history center on our church tour, we saw the Reiersens in there like they normally are, but with two young men we didn't know!  These were sophmores from a religious private school who were from Church of Christ.  They just walked in to our church that morning wanting to ask questions and find out more about our church.  We got the opportunity to sit down with them and answer questions.  I was really impressed with them.  They were respectful and asked very good questions.  We gave them a Book of Mormon and asked if they wanted to learn more.  They said that they do.  As I walked away from the experiences I thought "man, they were just comin to us today".  :)   
Aww man, I had this suuper funny story to tell you.  I don't know if I have time.  Okay I'll do the quick version.  Earlier this week, we had a dinner appointment with the bishop.  It was sis martell's first time at his house, and she wanted to behave well so that Bishop would think she was a good missionary.  Fair enough, I'd want to do the same thing.  As we sat down to dinner, Bishop Hale was telling us that they are working on getting a window seat by their kitchen table so that they can seat more people.  Sis Martell then unconsciously blurts out, "Oh, are you planning on having more soon?"  Hah!  Embarrassment came across her face as she realized what she said.  It really wasn't that bad, it was just funny!  And when she gets embarrassed, she can't stop laughing.  So then I start laughing too!  It's not my fault, I just laugh whenever she does.  We then sat down.  For dinner we were having this really good chicken and tomatoes with cous cous and feta cheese sprinkled on top.  I took my chicken, grabbed the container of feta, and sprinkled it on top.  I then passed it to Sis Martell.  She got her chicken, grabbed the container of feta....and all of a sudden, half the feta cheese is sitting in a huge pile on her plate!  And on the table.  And on her lap.  HAHAHAHAHA!  I couldn't contain myself.  Aww man it was the best.  And she began to laugh even more..and then I laughed even more...and the bishop was probably thinking...gosh these sister missionaries...   :)  To her credit, the plastic part on the top of the container had been torn all the way off but looked like it was only torn half way off.  I think she just shook it too hard.  Nevertheless, it was hilarious.
Well I think I just wrote a novel.  I love you all.
love sister wilde