Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Family and Friends,

Not too much to report on from this week! We were crazy busy with our transfer planning and going to and from Stockton. It was definitely a week that was packed with revelation and guidance. I wrote in my journal last week that these experiences I am having now I will never forget. There is something that has been coming to my mind as I have thought about the contents of this letter. We were talking with President Palmer last week on what the California Modesto Mission's Vision means to us. (Mission Vision: We are one with the Savior in doing the will of the Father.) As I contemplated that question I realized this isn't just a vision I will carry with me for 2 years. I want to carry it into my life after the mission. Because of the Savior we can change and become better human beings. The Savior walks with us through life's troubles, trials, and experiences. I have seen it more on my mission than ever before. I am grateful for such a wonderful Mission President and Wife. As I start my last transfer I feel like this has gone too fast.

We were able to go to Stockton a lot this past week with dinner's and everything we had planned. We went to Cafe Rio a couple of times for sure;) We were able to go out with one of our members Saturday evening to teach a lesson. We taught a man named Adrian. The lesson went super well. We were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and the blessings from reading it. I hope that he takes the time to read and pray.

Today has been really crazy because we will be taking departing missionaries to the airport. We had to get everything ready for them today. I hope everything goes smoothly this week. Please if you have some time pray for Lizette, Frankie, and the investigators that we were working with in Stockton. I finally finished my time out there. I love Stockton and I hope that I can go back soon! I hope that this email isn't too short. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Willden

Andi's Temple Day 

Sister Palmer sent mom a picture of Assistants
Elder Willden, Elder Wray, Elder Cook

Big Trees Park
Assistants and President Palmer

Skyping on Mother's Day

Monday, May 14, 2018

Family and Friends,

I don't have too much time to email today because we were at Big Trees park! But I will say we had a great week this week with a lot of opportunities to work with the missionaries. 

I enjoyed talking with my family on mothers day. It has been such a great experience serving a mission. It was good to hear Luke saying that he is looking forward to a mission. I know that a mission is something the Lord has asked us to do so that we can help others. As we help others we find ourselves. 

Thanks for all of the love and support! 

Elder Willden

Monday, May 9, 2018

Your trip
Booking ref:
Issued date:
06 April 2018
Kolton William Willden (553589-R)
50 East North Temple St
801 240-5111
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Wednesday 27 June 2018
Delta Air Lines DL 2742
27 June 01:30 PM
Sacramento, (International) (+)
Terminal: A
27 June 04:05 PM
Salt Lake City, (Salt Lake City Intl) (+)
Terminal: 2 - Terminal Unit 2
01:35 (Non stop)
530 Miles
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Economy (X)
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2 Piece(s) for Kolton William Willden
27E (No smoking seat) confirmed for Kolton William Willden
BOEING 737-800
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EMPLOYEE TRAVEL (800)537-1232 OR (801)240-1000
GENERAL AUTHORITY TRAVEL (800)453-3860 OR (801)240-1000

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Family and Friends,

I apologize for not writing on Monday...I know that you were all probably just sitting on my blog all day Monday and Tuesday waiting...haha just kidding. But we definitely had a crazy Monday. That is why I am writing today! We actually had a really good week last week. We weren't able to teach too many lessons, but we have been going all over the mission. We have been attending interviews with President Palmer and giving some personalized training on phone usage and how to help protect our companions. It has been such a learning experience for me; it helps me to be a better missionary and a better person.

Last week we conducted a mission leadership council and a new missionary/trainer meeting. We have just been very busy with trying to help the missionaries. Something that I got from both of the meetings was a word that is often over-looked in our missionary purpose. It says to, "HELP others to come unto Christ through..." I love that we get to help others. President Palmer took us through a training about helping others. It was very simple, but I took so much from it. The biggest thing I think I need to help others with is enduring to the end. We can help our Brothers and Sisters every where endure to the end. I like how we have been reminded to take a holier way to minister to those in our lives. The church is definitely true!

I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Miller this past week. It is crazy because the last exchange I had with him was about a year ago. I have a great friendship with him so it was cool to be able to learn from him. We also got to go work for the day out in Manteca! I had never been out to Mountain House so I thought it was a blast. It is allergy season though, so I am kinda dying out here.

Elder Cook and I now have a new companion. Elder Wray has joined us in the Modesto YSA. We will also be covering the Brookside ward again for a couple of weeks! It's crazy...I am going back a 3rd time! I am so excited. I am also super stoked that we get to go to the temple with Andi this weekend to witness her take out her endowment. She is such a great convert. She was called to be int the Young Women's Presidency last Sunday. It brings me joy that I would've never had if I wasn't on a mission.

Sorry for the short email. I got to go get some pretty good Chicago style pizza with President and Sister Palmer this past week. I am still losing weight though...we're good!:)

Elder Willden

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Family and Friends,

This week went by so quickly! We were very busy with zone conferences. We split them into two days. We did the north zones in the mission on Tuesday and the south zones on Wednesday. This zone conference was focused on working with members now that we have technology and more phone safety. I thought that it went very well this week. We had the zone leaders give trainings on Mosiah 5. The spirit was very strong as the missionaries re-evaluated their commitment to the Lord. I also felt the spirit strongly as I evaluated myself and where I was at. We have to constantly re-commit ourselves to the Lord or we can find ourselves getting complacent. 

We had an exchange this week with the Turlock zone leaders. It was super good. I will send a picture of me and the elder I was with. He is actually from Kaysville so that's cool. We went out and did a lot of proselyting that day, definitely more than we usually get! It was so nice. While we were planning our day in the morning we planned to go to "airport." This is the sketchy side of Modesto. I thought it was baby-food compared to Stockton, but we enjoyed it! Had some wonderful contacts. We were also able to place a Book of Mormon. It is the best when you are able to have a gospel conversation with someone and they are willing to listen. During exchanges we had to go to a special webinar from Salt Lake. It was to train us how to use our technology (again) haha. After everything we went out to Oakdale for the evening. We had set a goal previous to going out that night to share the "Because of Him" video 2 times. Well, on our second time sharing the video we had such a wonderful experience. We approached this woman and asked if she believed in Jesus Christ. She answered yes. So we pulled our phone out and showed the video. As the video was playing we could feel the spirit very strongly. We knew this lady was feeling the spirit as well. With tears in her eyes she accepted our invitation to send some sister missionaries by. Another observation I made during this contact was that this lady's son ran to us as we were showing the video and he was very engaged. I know that everyone can and will feel the spirit as they learn of Christ. Missionary work is the best!

We had a great opportunity this week to teach one of our prospective elders. It was sad though because he will be moving to Wyoming this week. We taught him of obedience and how it brings blessings. It was a very good lesson. Whenever I teach I learn something new about the gospel. It is pretty cool because sometimes you say things that are completely directed by the spirit...then you think "oh...that's true!" After our lesson with Kallan we drove up to Lodi....that was a long drive. A lot of fields too because we had to drive through Oakdale. A lot of driving this week!

I was given the opportunity to give a talk in church on Sunday! It was on forgiveness. The Bishop asked me to also introduce myself and talk about my conversion. It went pretty good! I felt a little bit under-prepared because I didn't have a ton of time to prep. But I definitely enjoyed being able to speak. I got to share some experiences that have happened in my life. I also got to reflect on what the spirit was telling me so that I can apply it into my own life!

I appreciate all of your love and support! I love my mission and I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel your prayers. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Willden

Monday, April 23, 2018

Family and Friends,

This week went by with the blink of an eye! Monday evening we were able to attend our wards FHE. We did a scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun, basically we just traveled around Modesto and found a bunch of things with some of the members. I am definitely enjoying the area. It is huge! We cover Modesto, Oakdale, Riverbank, and Sonora. It's a lot to cover. So we are very busy. We won't be able to go to FHE tonight because we have to prepare for the two zone conferences we are having this week. We are going to be training the missionaries on proper ways to use technology as well as accountability. The Lord trusts us with so many things on Earth. And we will be accountable for how well we used the things he has provided. I'm excited for this week.

On Tuesday we cleaned out 6 apartments that were closing. We are losing missionaries because the mission is closing soon. So we were busy all of Tuesday. Sister Palmer has been wanting to go to Taco Bell with me for a long while now and we finally made it happen! I will send a picture😄 Since our Rav4 was in the shop this week getting the window fixed we got to drive the Chevy Silverado. It was niceeeee. We took it into Oakdale (The Cowboy Capital of America) and took some pictures. We fit right in. 

While we were in Oakdale we had the chance to teach one of our members. We have really been focusing our messages on missionary work and how we can be more missionary minded. We had a great lesson. It's awesome when members take the charge of missionary efforts. They are so effective in what they do because they have people they are close to! As we lovingly encourage others to come unto Christ we will have amazing missionary experiences. The Lord will bless you for keeping His commandments. 

We had an exchange this week with some Elders from Riverbank. I was with an Elder that is actually from Bonneville Utah! We were able to go proselyting on the college in Modesto. It was nice to get back in the swing of YSA work. I absolutely love it. Cool experience actually. So at church this week there were a couple of members from Turlock YSA that came up to the Modest YSA Ward. Jake and Hunter. Well Jake is actually moving to Modesto and Hunter is dating a non-member that has been attending our ward. I am excited because I actually met his girlfriend down in Turlock and we were trying to teach her, but she wasn't having it. But now she might be more open to taking the lessons. We will see what happens.

As you all might have seen on my Facebook we served at the Love Modesto event this year. We did the dry creek clean up. It was pretty fun actually. We decided to wear proselyting attire which was kind of a mistake, but it all worked out. It was a good way to be out with the community serving and being seen.

Sunday evening was spent having dinner at President Palmer's. We went because we had to start the planning process for zone conferences this week. It took a long time. We are focusing on technology and how we can use it more effectively. I am enjoying every minute of my mission. I am sad because I know I will never be able to do this again. I'm so thankful for the opportunity the Lord gives each of us to do this.

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Willden

Monday, April 16, 2018

Family and Friends!

This week was a pretty busy one for me and my new companion. As soon as I got to Modesto on Tuesday morning we took the new missionaries to the mission office for some orientation. While they were doing orientation we were updating everything that changed with transfers. We then had a meeting with all of the trainers, which went really well. Then had the new missionaries meet their trainers. So Tuesday morning was pretty wild. After lunch we had the opportunity to take the departing missionaries street contacting in downtown Modesto. So Elder Cook and I had some time to proselyte and contact potentials. Nothing too crazy happened while we were tracting. After our afternoon of proselyting we went to President's to have a dinner. They made some super good food. I got to wear one of Sister Palmer's aprons...it was great. At the conclusion of our day we had a testimony meeting. It was a sweet experience and it caused a lot of reflection for myself now that my mission is winding to a close. I love being a missionary and it will be very hard to take the name tag off.

Wednesday was just as busy as Tuesday. We took the departing missionaries to the airport and helped them get everything ready to go. After all that fun stuff we went to lunch with President Palmer because we had to plan the mission leadership meeting that was happening after lunch. The meeting went really good. We talked about insights we had from conference and a lot of safety precautions we have to take with the new smartphones. It is crazy how much potential danger there is for missionaries. So we are training our stewardship to be careful.

The Modesto YSA is a fun area. It reminds me a lot of Turlock YSA...coincidence? I love working with people my age. The Bishopric is pretty cool. We definitely got fed more down in Turlock...but this is giving me an opportunity to slim down and cut some weight. Something very sad happened on Sunday. Our car was broken into and both Elder Cook and I's bags were stolen. My mission scriptures were also taken. I am still sad about it because I had so many marks, notes, and memories in my scriptures. I hope the person that stole them reads the Book of Mormon!(: They need it!

We had a couple lessons with prospective elders this week. Nothing too crazy missionary work wise went down this week because of transfers, but we are working hard and hope to find some new people this week. I am enjoying my mission so much. There is nothing that I would trade for this experience. The Lord is helping me grow in every way. He is good.

I had the opportunity to share my testimony with the mission leaders this past week. I am going to share with you what I shared with them and things I feel I should share with all of you. I have really been thinking about the Savior and how much He loves us lately. It isn't a casual love...It is a very deep personal love. As I have tried to live our mission vision in the California Modesto Mission, ("We are one with the Savior in doing the will of the Father") I have just caught a glimpse of how much the Savior really loves us. He does not want to lose ANY of us. No one. He has placed us in people's paths all the time, whether it be a touch-point towards conversion or an actual door opening that will allow us to help them. I have seen so many times when people need Him most He has sent us or others to their aid. I love the gospel. Missionary is a challenge, but it is the best challenge. 

I love the work!

Elder Willden

This picture was emailed to mom from Sister Palmer with note that said,
"Wonderful Elders"

Friday, April 13, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Family and Friends!

This week has been a very good one! Ending with transfer calls that happened yesterday. It turns out I will be on the Modesto YSA Ward. I am super excited to work with YSA's again. My new companion is Elder Cook. I am also excited to work with President Palmer for the remainder of my mission or so. We will see how it goes.

We were able to have a baptism this past week. Tiffani Hansen was baptized this past week. It was such a great experience to help a whole family come together into the church. Tiffani bore an amazing testimony after the service. We were very surprised the next day because she had the courage to go up and bear her testimony in Sacrament meeting too. We are so happy for her. I hope that they continue to make the ultimate goal a sealing in the Temple. 

We have been working with Lizette as well this week. She fed us on Saturday and she also fed us dinner. She made amazing Puerto Rican food. It was roasted pork and rice and beans. I was in heaven. We were able to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and really focus on forgiveness. It seemed that this conference had some emphasis on forgiveness as well. It was amazing to share some of my personal experiences with her about forgiveness. 

I was able to go on exchanges again this week with Elder Nelson. We have been on like 8 exchanges in the mission haha. That's a lot. And we will still be able to because he is a zone leader. It's been great to learn from him and to see his growth. 

We are going to have a really busy week this week. I hope it goes well. We found out this past week that our investigator Jim Wiggins passed away. It was bad news. But we are happy because now he will recognize servants of the Lord on the other side of the veil. 

Please continue to pray for the Brookside area and the recent converts here. They need to all experience the blessings of the Temple. I'm excited to start yet another chapter on my mission, but I am going to miss Stockton. It is home. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Willden 

Tiffani's baptism

Last meal in Stockton

Monday, April 2, 2018

Family and Friends, 

This week flew by. Both my companion and I were looking forward to conference. Maybe that's why. While I am on the subject...How about conference this year?! It was one of the most inspiring conferences I have witnessed in my life. I know that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God. These changes will help us to develop much more Christ like love. I am especially grateful for these changes because I need to specifically work on charity. As we minister to those around us we will see miracles all around us. The Lord truly wants us to use the priesthood we hold and to also seek for personal revelatory experiences always. What a wonderful time to be on the Earth. 

I want to share a spiritual experience I had this week! So I was reading the Ensign and there was an article on integrity. I love this attribute. And I hope to continue to develop my own personal integrity. The author of the article talked about how we can change our personalities based on who we are with and where we are at. I thought about the Savior. How unchanging He is. God will be the same yesterday, today, and forever. As we are on our personal road to perfection we need to be strong. The article brought up a really cool Old Testament story. I never would have thought this could be a story about integrity, but when Daniel had to choose between halting his communication with God or getting thrown into a lions den. He chose the latter. He was unshakeable in his beliefs; he wasn't going to succumb to worldly views. Because of his integrity the Lord protected him. Let us have continued faith in the Lord as we exercise our agency righteously. We don't need to fear. The Lord will guide us safely home to our Heavenly Father. 

I got the Easter package that was sent! Thanks so much Mom(: Easter was amazing. We had two food appointments that day. We had lunch with Andi and her family. Then we went to the Smith's for Easter dinner. We had some good food. But I am anxious to lose some of this unwanted body flab lol. Andi is doing really good by the way. I was going to take a picture with her, but I totally forgot. I will next time I see her. She is awesome though. The Smith's also made some super good food. We are spoiled here. I also have a ton of junk food from everything this week... 

So Tiffani is getting baptized this weekend! We are so excited for her. The baptism will be on Saturday and she will be confirmed in sacrament meeting this week. She is growing so much. She was definitely prepared to meet with us. I am a lucky missionary to be teaching such amazing people. The Hansen's are some of the best. They have us for dinner all the time. This past weekend we went to their house for some of conference and they smoked us some really good BBQ chicken... WOW. Her baptism will be amazing. 

We picked up two new investigators this week. Their names are Jacob and Manny. Jacob is 10... Manny is 9. And boy are they hard to teach. It's crazy. They will be baptized on May 5. We are excited, but we are nervous with how the lessons are going to go. We asked Manny to be baptized and he said, "I don't want to take a bath." It was then a really good opportunity to explain why we are baptized. We taught about Jesus Christ's baptism. It was cool to explain to a 9 year old why the Savior was baptized. He then told us that was something he wanted to do. We hope that their parents get involved because both Manny and Jacob's parents are less active. (They are cousins). 

We have an appointment tonight with Frank Masters and his family (hopefully). Frank is the only member in his home. I remembered him from when I was here a year ago and I noticed he hadn't been to church. So we decided to go knock on his door. He invited us in immediately. We asked about his son. (A year ago we tried to teach him) Frank told us that they were trying to get Jason more involved in the church. So we will see what happens. Hopefully we can teach them. The greatest thing on the mission to do is to unite families. I pray that we can help the Masters. 

Lizette and Roy were both able to watch conference. Lizette told us that she loved it. She also said her boyfriend watched a little bit and was impressed. We hope thats a good sign. Roy is doing so good. He was falling asleep during conference haha. I felt for him man. But on the other hand this was a historic conference. I wasn't trying to sleep the whole time!

Missionary work is the best work! I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Willden