Monday, July 25, 2016

Wow, those fires sound crazy. It is pretty hot out here too. That is weird that you are not coaching. I miss those days haha. My week was nice and long. It is so hot here and there is nothing to burn so there was no fires. The air feels like fire though.

Sounds like things are going good back home. I am really happy out here and love everyone here. My mission president is way cool. Thank you for the prayers it means so much. Prayer is something that has really grown in my testimony the past month. It has been a rough 4 weeks, but through prayer I have received peace and comfort. The ward I am serving in is super awesome. They are all supportive. And they have really strong testimonies. I get to play basketball today which I am super excited for.

I feel like I am getting fat.

Dad, I have some weird dreams out here. Like really weird. They are about random people back home and I cannot remember all of them but they are weird. 

Thanks for pushing me to go on a mission. It has been the best experience of my life. I am so tired 24/7, but I can rest in two years. Love you. Make sure you read my weekly report!

Hey Family and Friends,

I'll get straight to the point! I am in a trio with Elder Spikes and Elder Maxwell. There was such an influx of missionaries that I got put into a trio. Elder Spikes is kind of a stinker lol but Elder Maxwell and I keep him in line;) We are serving in an area called Manteca. Our specific assignment is the Union Ward. The members here are super awesome and very humble! We get fed every single night, so I am doing okay:) The first thing I am going to tell you right now that when I ride my bike it feels like there is a 100 degree blow dryer right in my face. haha. Funny thing is that Elder Spikes and I were at the MTC together and we were talking about if we were companions. And we ended up together so that's cool. Elder Maxwell is super cool and just got transferred from being an Assistant to the President. Just so you know Mom my Preparation Day is on Monday.

We ride bikes everywhere. President Palmer likes that because we can talk to everyone that we pass. It has been so cool meeting the people here. Everyone knows who the missionaries are. Some of them are very nice and some are very questionable. haha. And a lot of them are either high or drunk. But hey that is what the Atonement is for. My companions are awesome. I love it here. I have a feeling I might get transferred in 5 weeks so be ready for that.

My bike is super cool. I love that thing, Elder Spikes and I ride dirty. I taught him the ways and he caught on really fast. So when we get on our bikes we look at Elder Maxwell and say "LETS RIDE!" haha and then when we go through the city we "ride dirty." I absolutely love it here. We went to church on Sunday at 9AM. It is different then back home, but the saints here are awesome. Brother Campbell is my favorite. He is the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric. He bought us dinner twice last week. I had this "wet burrito" at this authentic mexican place. And then he bought us KFC on friday. I really am going to get fat. But when we are on bikes all day it is hard to get chubby. God has blessed me Mom, my taste buds have changed. (not a lot, but I can eat more than I thought). So about the heat here, we got in our car to drive home from church and it read 114 degrees. When we got to the apartment it was 111 degrees. It is HOT. It's a good thing it's not humid or I would die.

So I am going to tell you about the investigators here. We have a guy named Mark, he is the coolest guy. I don't know how, but I already love him. We committed him to baptism last week and he is progressing fast. I got emotional during the lesson and let me tell you why. Mark had a desire to learn, he was listening to every word we were saying and soaking it in like he was a young kid. He is almost 30 years old and he looked like a child learning how to ride a bike. It humbled me so much. That was a really good experience and I felt the spirit in the room so much. I am so happy to be here. We have a less active named Larry.   He should not really be a less active because he cannot make it to church. He had a stroke when he was younger, but he lost feeling in his left arm and the filter in his brain. So you can say he says stuff that is on his mind. Larry really likes golf he goes to putt putt tournaments and wins money haha.   He was a blessing because you know my humor and I was having a hard day and he lifted my spirit.

Back to the investigators. We have a family named the Vaultours, they are ready to be baptized, but the husband is holding them back. We also have an old lady named Marilyn. She is a good lady and she wants to progress. She has a really hard past to get over but we are excited to help her.

I love the work and I love my companions now. The Lord gave me a break. Well, not really because missionary is hard. I try to stay positive and I am blessed for it. We are eating really good out here and I am so happy. Love everyone back home! Have a good week!

Elder Willden
Elder Willden and Elder Spikes

Elder Maxwell and Elder Spikes

Three Amigos

Elder Maxwell

"Elder Spikes is from Georgia and Elder Maxwell is from southern Utah. I love them both. 
The video is a skatepark we found.​"

This came in the mail today as well and I took pictures of the letter and picture to share here.-Rhonda
Another note:  I cannot get the videos to play unless I use google Chrome as my browser.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hey Dad,

I am in Modesto right now. We got here, ate lunch, and then went proselyting. Haha Modesto is nothing but fields of fruit. It is so cool. Today's travels went well and I am safe.

It's awesome to hear that football is starting back up. And I can definitely send you fruit home if you want.

Proselyting is so weird. We did street contacting today and there is so much poverty in Modesto and everyone knows who we are. It is so cool. Our President is really great too. He said the missionary average in our mission is 4 baptisms a year. But then he went on to say that the missionaries felt inspired to make our goal four baptisms a month. That is crazy! But I know that if we lean on the Lord anything is possible.

A guy on the street today listened to our lesson and tried to bible bash. President said this was the bible bash area of the west. I found that out quickly as I ended up getting mad at this guy and his contentious spirit. Nothing came out of it and I learned a lesson today. We cannot force the word upon people. I tried to bear my testimony at the end, but the spirit was not there. 

Well Mom wanted a big report so I am making this short.

Elder Willden 

This week was crazy. Transitioning from the MTC to the field has been a good experience. I am so excited to receive my new companion and excited to get out to a new area. I met President and Sister Palmer today. They are so cool. I love it out here. Modesto is so wierd haha there is fruit, nuts, and cows......everywhere.

We went proselyting for the first time today, on my first day. It was so crazy. I went out with a kid named Elder Wade as my companion. (Not my original companion) As we got used to what we were doing we had given out two BoM's, a pamphlet, and a passalong card. We were teaching these two ladies and got done with them and I could see this guy staring at us. As we finished that conversation we walked past him and I decided to ask him how he was doing. He asked us a question and it started a conversation about the BoM. He asked "How do you know that the Book and Mormon and the Bible work together?" This question caught me off guard. I tried to answer it my best, but that did not work. It turned out that he wanted to bash. I know it was not right, but I got kind of excited. Haha (not good). The spirit immediately left the park. Ultimately we went back and forth until I felt like I had succeeded, but he ended up getting up and walking off. He had the last word and for those who know me back home I wasn't going to let him have the last word. I raised my voice and said, "Hey I have to say something!" He turned around and started to listen as I testified of the restoration. I think you guys know where this is going.... The spirit was not there. He ended up cutting me off and saying that we were wrong and that Jesus Christ restored the church, which is true, but he was mad and the spirit was gone.

I learned a good lesson today.

I love the gospel and think about the scripture Alma 7:23 everyday. What a great blessing this mission has already been in my life. I have learned to talk to people better and to feel God's hand in my life.

I got to see so many Elders I know at the MTC these past three weeks. Three that were really there for me were Elder Christensen, Elder Andrus, and last but not least Elder Robins. They helped me through some of the hardships I was having with my comp and the stress I had. I know that God is putting me through this hard thing to help me. I am excited to start the work.

I think about my family everyday and how they are doing. I hope everything is going so good. I love and miss you all!!

Elder Willden

Elder Willden and Elder Christensen
A friend from Lone Peak High


The rest of pics are during last week at MTC and he did not
let us know who the other Elders are;)

This is Kolton's 2nd plane ride in his life.....You can tell by pics he is excited
to be on a plane and excited to get to his mission.

Sister Palmer texted this picture of Kolton to us upon his arrival
at the California Modesto Mission Home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kolton sent several videos that I could not open.  Hopefully I can post those later.  

Here are the emails this week:

That is so cool that everyone is making life changing decisions right now! Tell everyone good luck and that I love them all.

My District is so good. My comp. is hard to deal with of course but I have had the time of my life. My Zone is cool too. ELDER ROBINS is in my zone. I love that kid. The food is making me sick most of the time and I think I am losing weight. My basketball shoes came so THANK YOU SO MUCH.

We are leaving Monday morning at 4:30AM. I am so happy to get out of here. I have no idea if I will be able to call. So we will see. 

I have a really personal experience to share. I have really been struggling here at the MTC due to stress from my companion and having to deal with his anxiety. It got to a point where I felt so inadequate to be here. I hadn't been sleeping that well anyways so I got on my knees. I was so desperate to be able to feel comfort and peace. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to send Papa to help me out. And I know that he has been helping our family so much. After my prayer I felt peace and comfort x1000 and I could tell Papa was helping me. With the things that have happened and everything, I know that he is really involved in our lives and I am so thankful for him.

I love everyone and miss home so much. But I know that this is the right thing for me to do. Thanks for all the packages and support. I cannot wait to get to Modesto.

Elder Willden

Yeah it's crazy how fast this experience has been for me! This week was honestly terrible in relation to me and my companion. We had two fights and on the second he ran off for awhile and we had to contact front desk and everything. Well enough negative haha. 

I am having the time of my life. I am learning so much here. And the power that missionaries have is real. Some of the things I say, I don't think I could just say by myself. I know that the spirit is guiding at all times. I have seen so many other people here. Cole Robins is in my zone, so I got to teach the priesthood lesson to him this past Sunday.

I read all of 2 Nephi and it is my favorite book in The Book of Mormon so far. It is so cool how Nephi takes the words of Isaiah and simplifies them so well.

I did get my shoes haha. But the day that I got them they closed the gym to redo the floors. So the gym opens up the day that I leave.

Thanks so much Dad.

Elder Willden

Got a this in Facebook messenger on Sunday from Brother May, who serves
in a Branch Presidency at MTC.  He is from our ward in Highland!  

Elder Willden and Elder Robins

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I am trying to adjust to the MTC. It is really hard here.

I am immersed in the spirit every single day. It has been so cool. I have been playing basketball and I forgot to tell mom in her email that I forgot my basketball shoes, so if she would so kindly send those that would be awesome. If not, oh well. I have read scripture about the Sons of Mosiah. They are so cool. I have also been learning to teach with the spirit. Thanks for the prayers, it means a lot and they are helping me I know it.

I have not been mowing lawns, but it is a different kind of tired for me. I am mentally drained all the time. It kind of feels good though. I have been able to see so many familiar faces here. Elder Mickleson, Elder Mickleson, Elder Andrus, Elder Millet, Elder Aalders, Elder Tyler Thompson, an Elder from skyview, an Elder from fremont. And many more. It has been so cool. I love it here.

Thanks for the email it means so much. 

Elder Willden
Hi everyone!

 My P-Day is on Tuesday Mom. I absolutely love the MTC. It is so hard, but so worth it. I think about family everyday. When I first got here I struggled a little bit because it did not feel real and I thought I was going to be coming home pretty soon. I have ALMOST gotten over that and I am really just diving into the Book of Mormon. It is so cool how when you just read it, it does not seem like there is a lot of stuff, but when you dive into the Book of Mormon and actually study there is something someone needs in every verse. Soooooo my companion is named Elder Lee. Elder Lee is the exact opposite of me. He grew up homeless in California and then moved to Utah and his Dad abandoned him there. After that his grandma had him move out to South Dakota to live with her. Shortly after she passed away he lived with his Bishop. Now when he gets home he will be adopted by him. It has been so hard for me to adjust to this companion. The first thing he said to me was "I hope I am the district leader." I just thought to myself, look for the good in him and everything will work out. I try my best not to be negative. I feel like I have been put in a situation where I can grow most. Elder Lee is the elder in my district that I would've thought I could never get along with. We had companionship inventory and I said a lot of things to him and he said a lot of things to me and we worked things out. Let's just say our room is clean now;) Thanks for that Mom.

I have been learning so much. Read 2 Nephi 28. It talks about all the churches in our day and how people are not going to want to accept the gospel because "they don't need another bible." Or they do not need any more gospel in their life. Our purpose as missionaries is to "Invite others to Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of The Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. This is so cool. Once we start we are never finished. I love the Elders in my dorm. Elder Schultz and Elder Stewart are the best. They keep me sane here at the MTC. I have already seen many miracles and that was something President Waddoups promised me in my setting apart blessing. My first day here I got to testify to a fake investigator and it felt real. In TRC yesterday, an exercise with investigators I had the opportunity through the spirit to commit a lady named Jacqi to baptism. What a wonderful opportunity. I love the gospel and all that I am learning. I miss everyone at home everyday. I am about to do laundry today and I am super nervous haha. Pray for me and my companion as we continue to learn new things about each other. I am so happy I am here. I am trying to send pictures so bear with me.
 Elder Willden

These last two pictures are of friends from Highland, Utah