Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Friends and Family,

This week was a blur. We had a lot of ups and downs, but that is what the mission is all about. Elder Lamm and I had a really good Thanksgiving. We started it off by going to the Rhykus' house. They are members and they invited us to like a Thanksgiving lunch. Sister Rhykus is from Vietnam so it was pretty cool to hang out with their family. Brother Rhykus liked having us there because he can't speak Vietnamese and that is what Sister Rhykus' family speaks. We got to have these things called shrimp balls. Haha they were super weird, but they tasted alright. It is blended up shrimp and then it has fried bread around it. I liked them, but I don't love them. After the Rhykus' dinner we went over to the Parrish's. They are members, Henry Parrish is a recent convert and he is super cool. Haha. We got there and their dinner table was FULL. It was crazy. They cooked a 20 lb. turkey and a 10 lb. ham for six people. It was intimidating. I will send pics of that... After the Parrish's we went over to Brett and Alejandra's. They sent some pictures and videos home to the fam. They are super cool and the food was really good. None of the dinners were as good as Mom's though.

We have had a lot of set backs with some of our investigators, but the one that is progressing at a rapid rate is Manuel. We went to his house this week for an appointment and to our surprise he brought another one of his friends. He is so awesome. Her name was Ziona. We ended up teaching him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked a lot about the saving ordinance of baptism and asked him about his date on the 24th. He accepted and told us that he is very excited. I will keep you all updated on his progress. Pray for him as he gets closer and closer to this saving ordinance.

Pray for Brett. That he will feel the importance of priesthood in a home. That he will understand the seriousness of baptism and ordinances that help us come closer to our Heavenly Father. Pray that they will understand the importance of the temple. Brett needs prayers. So does Alejandra. Pray that she will have strength to stay on the path that Jesus Christ has laid before her. I love this family and want salvation for the both of them and John Luke. And her parents as well. They are great people.

Spiritual thought for the week is about Abinadi. The mission is super hard because for example in my last area I did not know if I ever touched anyone because there wasn't a lot of progress in numbers. But I have really thought about Abinadi. He preached the gospel and didn't know if he was going to touch anyone, but he insisted that he shared his message. Well... It got through and touched Alma which led to countless people joining the church. It is amazing how the Lord works.

I love the work. And love and miss everyone.

Elder Willden

Leaving homework on November 22 for Alejandra

Monday, November 21, 2016

Family and Friends,

This week was so good. I had several neat experiences being a missionary and I am so thankful God has put me in the position to serve him. People who contemplate going on a mission I just want to show them the blessings. But it is an experience that can only be described through personal experience. I would just like to say that this experience has already been a spiritual experience that trumps all others. We had our transfer calls this week. I will be staying in the Weston Ward with Elder Lamm. This is where I belong. And when I leave I will be super sad, but I am going to let God guide. I love it here.

So Manuel is progressing rapidly. Elder Lamm and I go over to his home for lessons and we are edified by his faith just as much or more than he is learning and accepting God's message. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. He listened and really had a lot of questions pertaining to the plan. After the lesson we talked to him about being baptized on Christmas Eve. He then asked, "Do you think I am ready?" Look as a missionary you want to get baptisms so any missionary would just go on and say YES YES YES. The spirit told me not to just go out and say yes like that. I recently had been studying about yielding to the spirit. So I was able to slow down and think about what I was going to say. The spirit allowed me to tell him, "Yes, I can feel your spirit and your attitude of missionary work and God wants you to be baptized on the 24th." This is not something I would've said without a prompting. Manuel went on to tell us it is weird that we said Christmas Eve. He told us that is when he would want to be baptized if he was baptized. He told us he would give us an answer this week. Which is great. Elder Lamm and I had a strong impression to ask him to be baptized on the 24th and it turned out to be the spirit prompting us to do that because the spirit knew what Manuel wanted.

Brett and Alejandra are doing great! We have really been working with them on marriage and things of that sort. It has been going good, but they definitely need prayers. I love this family.

I went on exchanges this week with Elder Jeong. He is one of the Stockton Zone Leaders. We had a great time. Haha. That night we had a double dinner. And it was a ton of food. We went to Denny's and then down to an appointment in south Stockton. This was great. It turned out we got to give a lesson to Samuel after dinner. Samuel and his family are interesting. It was a good lesson. The kids were really loud, but the spirit was there. We took pictures so I will send those soon.

Spiritual thought for the week. I have been studying in Jesus the Christ a lot recently. Something that really stuck out to me was Jesus' divine purpose. In the pre-existance God presented a plan. Satan volunteered for the main role and told Heavenly Father he would change the plan a little bit and then the glory would be his. After Jesus heard this he told our Father in Heaven that he would be our Savior, Submit to the Fathers will, and give the glory to our Father. This was a supreme example of humility and love. I would invite all to go read the pre-existance in Jesus the Christ. It really gave me a new perspective on Jusus' role in our life.

I hope the Fam has a great Thanksgiving. I will be missing all of you.

Elder Willden

With Samuel's family.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Family and Friends,

I had a very good week this week. We started it off with a specailized training on our mission emergency plan and the new #LightTheWorld initiative. I thought that the meeting went really well. Fun fact: I learned that missionaries can jump into a pool! But... Only if you are on fire. Haha I want to swim so bad. I'll write a little bit more about the Christmas intitiative.

So we learned about the new initiative and what we are supposed to do. There is an event calendar that we will have and we will be doing a lot of service! We have pass along cards that has a link to the video. The video is GREAT! If you have not seen it go and watch it. It basically shows that we can strive to have the charity that Christ had. I said it shows because this video does not have words. Something our Mission President asked us was "What words do you hear?" I thought that that was super cool because as you watch it words come to your mind. So it makes it personal. The word that came to my mind the most was service. If we are serving we are doing something that Jesus Christ did his whole life. I absolutely love this new initiative.

We had some set backs this week, but I guess I should expect that being a missionary. We talked with Brett and Alejandra about their progress. They said they were probably not going to make it on the 11th of January. Alejandra feels rushed. I really hope they take our invitation to kneel down together and pray about the decisions they will be making. I think that that would really help them. I can feel all of your prayers at home.

Manuel came to church yesterday. Cool story about that though: That morning had been really hard because when we got to church we were expecting three investigators to come to church. With 20 minutes to church no one had shown up. The only investigator to show up on time was Samuel which we knew would come. We welcomed him and started sacrament. Half way through sacrament I was sulking and pouting that none of our investigators had come. We were singing a song and the chapel door opened. Manuel walked in with one of his friends. I was super happy and filled with the spirit. I immediatly prayed for thanks and for forgiveness for pouting and murmering in my mind. I am thankful for the joy that we recieve bringing people to the fold.

Spiritual thought for the week is a scripture that is very dear to me. It is Phillipeans 2:13-15. This scripture has actually meant a lot to me since I was 12 years old. But when I came out on my mission and turned back to it it answered a lot of my questions. I absolutely love it. I was looking over it recently and it really applies to the Light the World initiative. We need to shine as lights in this perverse nation.

I love the work!

Elder Willden

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Family and Friends,

We received news this week that there are more opportunities for missionaries to go to the TEMPLE now! I have been wanting to go to the Oakland Temple ever since I got off the plane. So hopefully I am able to go soon. There are three requirements for us to go:

1: We have to be instrumental in the investigators conversion.

2: We have to make sure they bring a family name.

3: It has to be the investigators first time to the Temple.

That opens so many opportunities for us to go to the Temple and I am super excited for the day I get to go to either the Sacramento or Oakland Temples. 

Elder Lamm and I were able to pick up two new investigators this week! The Lord has really been blessing us. When I first got into the area we had two we have nine. Elder Lamm and I have been working really hard and I am happy to say that Heavenly Father is acknowledging that. I have really enjoyed missionary work and will tell you my experiences I had this week with the people of Stockton.

We street contacted a man by the name of Manuel about 3 weeks ago. We were finally able to meet with him for the first time this week. We taught him the Restoration. He accepted everything and then he explained to us that he was given a Book of Mormon three years ago. He said that he has a testimony of the Book already which is super awesome. He came to church this Sunday, but did not come to the right time;) We talked to him about baptism and I thought that this was super cool. He told us that he has been baptized twice, but that he wants to do it the right way. I am really excited to watch him progress. Pray for Manuel!

The next one I want to talk about is a pretty cool one. We get a lot of church headquarters referrals. We received one this week for a lady by the name of Charmaine Epps. We went over with our Ward Mission Leader Brother Roberts. We taught her the Restoration and she opened up and told us about how she moved to Stockton recently because both of her kids were killed in Oakland. (I would not recommend Stockton haha) But on a serious note, we were able to explain that families will be together forever. She was super accepting of the message and we were able to commit her to read the Book of Mormon.

Brett and Alejandra are doing really good! We need to get them to church though;) Uncle Larry is reading the Book of Mormon again and we will be following up on that here pretty soon.

Cool story about Vierra Turner. She had a dream recently about the church. She said she was in a really stormy world. She looked and saw a steeple. She interpreted that it was a Mormon church. She went in and felt really warm. She said the feeling was indescribable. I thought that that was super cool. Please pray for Vierra and her progression.

Spiritual thought of the week. At the beginning of the mission I approached President Palmer and I talked to him a little bit. He ended up telling me at the end kind of joking, kind of not to "Not kick the pricks." I took this in a positive way. But I was recently studying in D&C 121. And it says in verse 38: Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. I then turned to Acts and it told the conversion of Paul. When he was Saul he was told not to kick the pricks. I thought about this and obviously I am not rebelling against God, but we need to submit to his will. Why kick back at him and fight what you are supposed to be doing? Jesus Christ was the perfect example of this. I invite you to read 3 Nephi 11:10-11. This is the perfect example of accepting his will.

I love my family and I love the work!

Elder Willden

Alejandra sent you enough pictures. i will do better next week;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


I had a very good week this week! Hard work has really been paying off. We were able to meet some new people this week. Something that was really cool about that is that I was on the phone with President Palmer a couple weeks ago and we were reporting our weekly numbers. As I was reporting it sounded really sad because we had been struggling to get good numbers. As we approached how many new investigators we had I was getting nervous because we were at zero and I did not want to be embarrassed. When I told him zero he laughed and said, "Well Elders, you're gonna have to step up your game a little bit!" This made me laugh and a lot of stress was relieved as I told him we were going to step our game up. And right away, we stepped our game up! Haha. We worked really hard this week to find new people and to visit former investigators. As we did we were able to see the fruits of our labors and it has been so good. I will tell you a little bit about who we met.

The first guy I want to talk about is Uncle Larry haha. He was a former investigator that just fell through the cracks. We have no idea why he was dropped. Well we went over there and he let us in. We started talking to him and he explained that his nephew lives in an apartment in his backyard and that he was Mormon. He went on and said that his nephew has fetal alcohol syndrome. His name is Nick. We met Nick and he was offended in Pacific YSA. So he started coming to the Weston Ward. We started to talk to Larry about his position on the church. He told us that he was super close to being baptized, but he was offended. So pray for him to have his heart softened. We were able to go shopping with him today because we had no miles on our car. We were at the register and he stepped in front of us and payed for our groceries. He is super nice and we want for him the happiness that we have. Larry was raised right and he is very religious. We will work on him;) Once again he needs prayers though.

Update on Vierra. She went in for some medical tests the other day and she asked us for a blessing. The blessing went very well and she told us she was nervous for the appointment. The next day we went by to see how she was. She told us the blessing had worked and she sent us away (she was not feeling well). We were so happy that she recognized the priesthood working in her life. Please pray for Vierra. 

Spiritual thought for the week: It is on the Book of Mormon. As we were talking to an investigator his feelings about the Book of Mormon were so-so because of the violence. I don't think much of it because I was raised in the church. While we were testifying my testimony grew. If you think about it the Lord protected the Nephites when they were righteous. They were fighting not because they wanted to conquer, but because they were protecting their families, liberties, and religion. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon and the things it teaches all of us. I issue a challenge to all that read this. Think of a question. Any question and read the Book of Mormon. And I promise you that your question will be answered.

I love my family and wish them a Happy Halloween. Don't eat too much candy lol. 

Elder Willden

 Elder Capulac and I (He is the best Elder hahah)

MOM this is the journal I need.

I make some pretty dang good spaghetti! Not boasting in myself. It is through God the spaghetti is made.;)
{that looks like Penne to me, not spaghetti-Rhonda's comment}

Mane N' Tail Shampoo hahaha. Go watch blades of glory. This stuff is so good for your hair;)


 The "Look"