Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Family and Friends,

This week was a super good week. 

We started the week having interviews with President Palmer on Tuesday. This was a super cool experience and just a jumpstart for my week. We talked about The Atonement and how it is personal. President said something that has really caught my attention for the week. He said, "How can you not look at yourself in the mirror and say 'he did this just for me?'" The Atonement is so personal. And I have said this before and I will say it again...I feel like no one will ever fully understand The Atonement. This really fit well with what I told him in that interview as well. I think I shared this last week, but once we use The Atonement we can develop our own personal testimony of it. And that is what missionary work is all about...It's about giving people that chance to use The Atonement.

Elder Lamm and I had a pretty cool experience contacting a referral this week. We went to the complex we were supposed to go to and it turned out the address did not exist. Well... God put us there for a reason, so we looked at the address and it was apartment #7. These apartments were based off of alphabetical order so we correlated the number with the letter and it was "G". So we knocked on apartment G and asked if there was a Book of Mormon delivered to the home. The man said no. We asked him if he was familiar with our church and he said yes. His name was Eric. Eric then invited us into his apartment. (That NEVER happens). We went in and we were able to share The Restoration and he accepted a Book of Mormon. He said that he used to play basketball with the "Mormon boys." haha so that is an opportunity for me to play ball. haha I'll take it. But yeah that was a super cool experience and I know that God guides his missionaries.

We went to Brett and Alejandra's this week and we were able to share a scripture with them. The scripture we chose was Helaman 5:12. This really applies to their situation because as they are trying to make good decisions.  Satan is working really hard on them. As we build upon the rock of Christ he will help us when the wiles of the devil come. I loved being able to share this with them. They need your prayers as they strive to do their best.

Also an update on Vierra. She is doing alright. She has been kind of sick the past few weeks. We were able to go over there and share Moroni 7. This chapter is packed with principles. We shared that with her and then something really cool happened. We have been asking her about baptism and we feel like she keeps getting annoyed with us and taking it as sarcasm. But I felt impressed to bring it up last night. I just flat out asked her, "Vierra, do you want to be baptized?" Sometimes you just have to be blunt. She said that she really has been thinking about it. And she brings up the fact that she has already been baptized when she was a baby. But we asked her, "Wouldn't you like to make that choice? And wouldn't you want to show Heavenly Father your faith in Christ?" We feel, and I feel, like it is going to take time but we will be filling the font pretty soon. Seeing these people that I love make decisions to come closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ makes me so happy.

My spiritual thought kind of goes off the things I have been talking about already. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple. So why do we sometimes try to make things so complex. Be simple. Be that person that does the simple things. Plain and precious things are what makes our lives better. It says that many times in the Book of Mormon; maybe not in the context that I said it, but it still applies. I love this gospel and it's simpleness. I have a testimony of that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a great week!! I love you all.

Elder Willden

He tried to recreate a pic from when he was about 4 years old holding a leaf
bug in the from yard

Got his packages of food from mom dropped at mission home
by the Moa family from North Ogden

 These next photos are from last week:

One of the families they are teaching gave him a minion.....
do they know him or what?

Lots of rain last week.

If you can view the following video (does best on Chrome browser) 
you will see that Elder Willden is still KOLTON

Monday, October 17, 2016

Family and Friends,

This has been a really good week.

It rained A LOT this week. It was nice to get just a glimpse of what the weather used to be at home. Elder Lamm and I are lucky enough to have a car. But we still had to take the bikes out while it was pouring a couple of times. I have enjoyed missionary work more and more as time keeps moving forward. It is definitely a different experience than anything I have ever done. I would like to reiterate what I said in my farewell talk and say that I am thankful for my brother Chase and my Dad for going on a mission and showing me the right way to do things. I can now see some, not all, of the blessings that have and will come into my life. It is so humbling to be on a mission.

The investigators that really progressed this week was Brett. As you know he is in a part member family with Alejandra. We got to do some service at their home this week, we got to eat dinner with them, and we got to give them a lesson. Brett and Alejandra are definitely one of two favorites. I have said this before, but I was meant to meet them. I know that Elder Lamm and I are together and that we have them as investigators because God knows it is their time to hear the gospel and to change. We extended Brett a baptismal date for Jan. 11. He accepted. This was the highlight of my whole mission this week. We have been working on them for a transfer and a half. They are striving for marriage and Brett will then be ready for baptism. God is good. I love missionary work.

Vierra. Another one of my favorites. This lady is awesome. She cares about the missionaries so much. We have had to turn down many gifts from here including iPads... haha. Her son Steven is a recent convert and we are teaching her. She has asked us multiple times if there is an adopt a Grandma website or something. I told her to move to Utah and we would adopt her as a Grandma haha. She is having a hard time progressing. Please pray for her as she makes vital decisions in her life.

So I told you all about our street contact Steve last week. We were not able to see him this week. It was very hard to get ahold of him. It is sometimes discouraging because I feel like people don't understand how hard we work. I mean that when they don't pick up or call back, it's like we worked so hard and planned to see them and then it is just dropped. Haha. I am getting used to it. Satan is a master at destroying people from the inside out. So as missionaries you have to accept others agency and keep pushing forward.

Spiritual thought of the week. I was reading in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11 and I came across something really cool. Nephi was visited by the Spirit of the Lord. He saw a lot of things, but the thing I liked most was that in verse 27 he testified of the divinity of Christ. I read that and thought that don't we all have our own testimony of the Savior and His Atonement? If we don't it would not make it personal. Once we all have a personal testimony of the Atonement it allows us to repent and have peace. If you have used the Atonement you have a testimony of it. I know this for myself. Jesus Christ did Atone for our sins. He is our Savior. And he loves each and everyone of us. Just like he knew Joseph Smith's name he knows our names. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father. And I am thankful for missionary work. I am striving to become like Peter and Andrew in straightway dropping their nets and following Christ. I love the Testaments and how much they can guide our lives.

I LOVE missionary work.

Have a great week.

Elder Willden

Rhonda:   Expecting an email today!!!!  But, I forgot to post some pics that came in a text this week from a family Elder Willden and Elder Lamm are teaching.
Helping investigators with 'winter' cleaning on 10-10-16

These next few were taken Saturday night, 10-15-16.  The family took them to their favorite
taco truck.  They know the cook at this one.  The last pic shows the area and a couple of the taco trucks.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alejandra sent this picture on Tuesday night, 10-11-16, with note that said, "Spring Cleaning in the winter!"
They must have helped her with some cleaning. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Utahns and Other Homies,

Transfers went well! I get to stay in the Weston Ward in Stockton! Elder Lamm is still my companion! I am happy no drastic changes were made. I am happy where I am at. I know that the Lord wants me here. It has been such a blessing to be here on a mission. To see my family progress and see the blessings that they are receiving is great. I did not realize how lucky I was at home until I got to Stockton. (Or even when I got off the plane in Oakland). These 3 months have definitely been a journey. Well, something else that happened this week...My first trainer Elder Maxwell is going home tomorrow! He was so cool. I will miss him a lot. He lives in Glendale Utah, but he will be attending Utah State. So I hope I will be able to see him soon!

This week felt really good. We have been working our butts off to get potential investigators and new investigators. We were able to bring in 12 potentials and ended up picking up 2 new investigators. One of them is looking really good. His name is Steve. He is so cool. While I was on exchanges with Elder Capulac we pulled up to this guy on our bikes and he was totally out going. He told us to come over. So this week Elder Lamm and I went over. There is a funny story to this, but I will put it in later. So.... There were a bunch of dogs in his yard so we ended up doing the lesson of The Restoration in his front yard, in front of the front gate. haha. So we got through the lesson and he was accepting everything. He said he thought it was interesting that there was a record of the Americas during Jesus Christ's time. We felt the spirit so strong as we were teaching him and he accepted the commitment to be baptized. Pray for Steve as he starts to read the Book of Mormon. I really hope that he makes the decision to follow Jesus Christ.

So the funny story... The first time Elder Lamm and I went to go contact Steve we saw a lady leaving the house. We decided to just go knock on the door. So we saw this dog kennel in the front and we were like... ehhhh there's no dog out here so let's just go in. I forgot to say...this is in the sketchy part of town where you see a lot of pitbulls, rottweilers, and german shepherds in the front yards. So I led the way and went to the front door. Elder Lamm shut the gate as we went in. All the sudden the lady that left pulled back up to the house and said, "You're in the wrong yard guys...." and we were thinking this is just a normal thing someone telling us to leave. And she went on and said, "This is my Grandma's house... And she has like 11 pitbulls.... You need to be really quiet and get out of the yard." I was FREAKING out. Hahaha this was definitely one of the scariest things that has happened. And it was pretty funny. But yeah the next time we went over we saw all the pitbulls and I was so glad we weren't attacked by these ripped dogs hahaha. 

Keep praying for Vierra, Brett, and Alejandra. We will be teaching Brett and Alejandra tonight and we are extending a baptismal date. So hopefully they decide to accept and work at marriage. I love being a missionary.

Thank you all for all of the support and the many packages I get. I love them and I love you guys!

Elder Willden

Awesome socks from the Campos Family!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hey everyone!

It is my last week of being trained!! 

I have enjoyed the first 3 months of my mission so much. I am developing good habits that I will be able to use the rest of my life. It is so nice to have a routine that we stick to every single day. And the short amount of time I have been out I have had experiences that I will never forget.

I went on exchanges with Elder Capulac this week. It went so good. And I got to have some laughs out of it. The first guy that we talked to was a referral that we contacted. I will tell you the funny part later on, but first I want to tell you about something that struck me so hard. We started talking to this man. His name being William. He told us to call him Willey, which is cool because that was my nickname in high school. But we started talking to him and his girlfriend came out and told us we were wasting our time and that Willey was not good enough for us to be talking to him. It struck me because NO ONE is not worth it. No one is not worth God's time. Willey was really drunk, but I know that he felt loved. Being here on a mission has really helped me realize how much God cares about all of his children. Missionaries have a special ability of seeing people as Jesus sees them. I can testify to that. Now for the funny part. Willey would not listen to our lesson hahah. He would crack jokes every other minute. One of his jokes made Elder Capulac and I laugh really hard. He said, "Jack and Jill went up the hill to have a little fun...Jill forgot to take her pill and now she has a son." Hahaha. I laughed and I thought.....How ironic...That is how I was conceived. Hahaha. Sorry Mom and Dad. I had to say it. I am THE accident. So yeah Willey is one of the faves.

The work has been very slow because we are spending so much of our time trying to find new investigators. It has definitely been a journey. Ha. My spiritual thought actually has to do with this. I was studying something and I totally forgot what it was, but I ended up in D&C 52: 9-10. It reads, "9. And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.
10. Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water's side."
This is our purpose. To preach by the way. President Palmer was truly inspired when he sent a charge through our mission asking us to preach by the way. People start to see us outside and start to recognize what we are doing. I know I look goofy as crap in that helmet, but hey if I am in the helmet for the Lord it is okay.

I had a really cool experience at a members house last night. I was talking about President Nielson's talk on Joy. I shared that man can choose whether or not to be happy through trials. We can choose. This brought me back to when I was being set apart as a missionary. I remember being told, "Happiness is a choice." It was super cool.

Vierra is doing great! She was able to join Elder Lamm and I at Bishop's house for dinner last Friday. It was awesome. She is from Germany so the Bishop's wife cooked German food and it was super good. We were able to share our testimonies about Joseph Smith. What an amazing man. I read a little bit in Joseph Smith History this morning and I could really feel the spirit. It all goes back to the Book of Mormon though. If we know that it is true we know that everything is true.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. I love my family and hope they are doing so well. I appreciate all the love and support as I serve the Lord. THANK YOU!

Elder Willden