Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 23 - January 25, 2016

Hello, everyone!

It was a wonderful week here in Philly.  It always is, I love it here,
I love the people even though they may not love us so much haha!  Just
kidding--they respect us and what we do, well most of them. 

This week I think I got the most angry I have been in a while.  I was
talking to this Catholic guy on his doorstep.  He was smoking a
cigarette.  Anyways he was "content" with being Catholic - somehow... I
introduced the TRUE church (Church of Jesus Christ) and he blew the
smoke right into my face and then threw his cigarette at my face and
cursed me out.  *deep breath*  Interesting how someone who claims to
"know everything about Christ" can do that as you try to talk to them
MORE about Christ. 

This week was filled with blessings and miracles - you see them often
out here as you do the Lord's work.  Philly had the most snow it has
had in YEARS!   We were told Friday night that we had to get inside
immediately.  We didn't get the text because we were in a lesson, but
when we walked outside it was snowing and Scepta (local
transportation) shut down.   My companion, Elder Lake is not very fond of walking, so I got to hear his thoughts :-)).  
 (The night before when the snow was just starting to come down.)
(The next morning.) 

Anyways we got home and
called it a night, woke up the next morning opened our door and no
joke a yard or so of snow just fell inside our house... The streets
were completely covered with snow.... Most snow I have ever seen in my
life!  It was beautiful, however, and I truly was excited for it.   We were
told that the proselyting would be off for the day, but we were never
told that we couldn't go do service!  

So the Spanish missionaries
joined us and we spent the first six hours of our day doing service.  It was frickin freezing, windy, and obviously snowing hard, but we all
loved every second of it.  We were able to shovel over 30 houses and
get a solid dozen cars that were stuck because they tried driving in
it (why, I don't know) which was pretty hard!  Members of our church
are familiar with the Book of Mormon passage in Mosiah 2:17 which
reads:  "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom;
that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow
beings ye are only in the service of your God."  This is what we all
kept stating as we worked.  Many people continued to say, "Let us give
you money, let us give you money!"  We, of course, denied it and continued
on.  





We were able to establish every time that we were missionaries for
our church and that we were blessed with the opportunity to be here in
this area to help these people with whatever they stand in need of.  People's mouths dropped and eyes widened, they were amazed!  Almost
every single time we were able to share a message about Christ and
left many with a smile on their face.  

I want to share a few experiences of the blessings that came from this. 

 1. This man had his Audi (it was like 1000 years old; don't get too
excited, Parker) just completely stuck - buried.  We went and started
helping him, started talking to him.  Quickly getting into his life
story he told us he was in Chicago for years trying to get his
"certificate" to be a pastor, priest or missionary.  We smiled and told
him, "You don't need a certificate, look at us!  We are 19 year old
young men that just got out of high school.  We got CALLED to be here."  We were able to explain how Christ's original apostles weren't
scholars, they were fisherman, tax collectors etc. and how Christ gave
them authority and that authority wasn't given by going to school, it
was given by someone who already HAD authority.  We asked him if he
thought authority was necessary to baptize etc., which he answered
yes, and we asked him if prophets and apostles for
Christ's church were necessary which he of course said yes.  Anyways, long story short--we were able to give this man a Book of Mormon and
will be meeting with him this upcoming week.  It's funny when you come
across someone logical and willing to listen, they would know what we
say is the plain and simple truth... But it's hard to come across
those people!  Haha. 

2. After we were "done" with our service, we were all just frozen,
hands were purple, eyebrows frozen, yknow that good stuff - so we
called it quits finally and everyone insisted that we go down 4th
street because there was less snow, but I felt impressed to go down
6th street, didn't know why, but we did - turned the corner and this
lady opens her down and shouts for our help, so we go and shovel
everything and she tries giving us 50 bucks and we are like, "It's okay
it's okay, we are missionaries for our church etc.  Then she
immediately is like, "I love Jesus, I love God, please come back and
teach each of us.  We want to know."  That continued for a while and her
begging for us to take her money, but we just asked if we could come
share a message.  She rejoiced and said, "Absolutely!" No doubt in my mind
she and her husband will get baptized - I saw them both in white. 

3. "PAY IT FORWARD" -- this man got his car stuck, completely on ice,
so we helped get him out, took a bit of time but we got him out.  He
asked us how he could repay us.  I told him he could "pay it forward"
and come help us help another person.  He accepted, anyways this
process continued on and before we knew it we had a group of ten
people or so just shoveling and getting cars unstuck etc.  Really neat
experience.  It's interesting how when something happens to an entire
community, everyone forgets themselves and tries helping everyone -
everyone comes together, it's awesome.  

Of course many other things happened, but those stuck out to me at least.  Hmmm this week on Wednesday we had interviews with our mission
president.  That guy is amazing....... When you look at him, you're just
in awe, he's great.  Anyways, lovely, much needed interview; not
everything is always great, the work is always great though, I guess I
should say.  

We received a missionary training through a worldwide
broadcast from a few of the Apostles of the church - really
enlightening.  Those guys are called of God and just know what is UP.
If you ever listen to them speak, you just instantly feel the Spirit.  

One thing that has been my biggest frustration out here is seeing the
lack of support the members give and the lack of fellowship.  We must
all recognize that when we were baptized we took upon as an
oath/covenant that we would help those around us, strengthen others
and be there for others, but it seems as if now everyone is just "TOO BUSY"' to serve.  I think it takes a step back and actually think about
the big picture, what we are doing and why we are on this earth.  I look
at all these return missionaries that are like 30 years old in our
branch and they all are just so focused in their little cliques and
it's just like, "Yes, you served a mission but you are still commanded to
help those around you."  Elder Oresteugi, the Spanish missionary, was like, "Some go on a mission, some SERVE a mission."  So true.  Our whole life
as members of the church is a mission to help those around us. 

I want
to share some thoughts out of a talk.  First this scripture in Luke
says it all:  "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and
when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." 

Elder Robert J. Whetten in a conference talk says a few things that I had to share
with the branch president.  

"Yes, brothers and sisters, like Peter
before, we have testimonies, but is conversion a continuing process in
your life?  Isn’t each of us a work in progress in the hands of our
Maker?  Is God blessing others through you?  Do you pray and ask whom
the Lord would have you bless by lifting another’s burden?  Do you love
others as much as you love yourself?  Conversion means consecrating
your life to caring for and serving others who need your help and
sharing your gifts and blessings.  The Lord didn’t say, 'Tend my sheep
when it is convenient; watch my sheep when you aren’t busy.'  He said, 'Feed my sheep and my lambs; help them survive this world; keep them
close to you.  Lead them to safety--the safety of righteous choices
that will prepare them for eternal life.'  Every unselfish act of
kindness and service increases your spirituality.  God would use you to
bless others.  Your continued spiritual growth and eternal progress are
very much wrapped up in your relationships--in how you treat others.  Do you indeed love others and become a blessing in their lives?  Isn’t
the measure of the level of your conversion how you treat others?  The
person who does only those things in the Church that concern himself
alone will never reach the goal of perfection.  Service to others is
what the gospel and exalted life are all about.  In your journey
through life, you are to reach out and bless the lives of your fellow
travelers, to give of yourself to those who need you.  'For whosoever
will save his life,' the Master said, 'shall lose it; but whosoever
shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save
it.'

"Many active members believe that the less-active members and new
converts that fall by the wayside behave differently because they
don’t believe the Church’s doctrine.  Studies made do not support this
assumption.  They show that almost all less-active members interviewed
believe that God exists, that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith
was a prophet, and that the Church is true.  In numerous wards and
branches, there are many good, upright, honest men and women who just
don’t know how to come back to church. There are good mothers and
fathers among them.  They have just left, and no one has come to check
up on them, leaving them with the idea that no one really cares.  When
men or women of faith visit these individuals and become their
friends, strengthen them, pray with them, and teach them the gospel,
they and their families will come back. 'Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'  Who are 'the least of these my brethren?'  Might the Lord be referring
to the newest coming into the fold or to those who have wandered into
the shadows of inactivity and would return if extended the hand of
true fellowship?  In this great battle for the souls of men, the rules
of engagement in missionary work are more clearly defined for each of
us.  Members are to accompany full-time missionary companionships as
they teach the lessons and play a vital role in the conversion process
of others.  Missionaries are 'to preach my gospel by the Spirit' with
words from their own hearts, words of truth treasured up by much study
and prayer. 

"Our missionaries’ roles in the continuing conversion
process of others do not end at baptism.  They are to continue to teach
new members and others who need spiritual nourishment.  Brothers and
sisters, if the conversion and transformation process is to continue
in each of us, new members and old alike, we must love, serve, and
give spiritual nourishment to others.  We must help others receive the
full blessings of the Restoration, including the blessings of the
temple.  Love is not just a word or a declaration, but the first and
great commandment, a commandment that demands action--'If ye love me,
keep my commandments' and 'Lovest thou me? … Feed my sheep.'  You must
do what our Savior and His prophets, both past and present, have
always taught: serve, strengthen the faith, and nurture those who need
your love and blessing.  You have the Lord’s promise:  'And whoso
receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face …
and my Spirit shall be in your hearts.' 

"Brothers and sisters, as you
reach out in love to bless the life of another, you both will be
blessed with His Spirit.  The Lord teaches that both will 'understand
one another, and both [will be] edified and rejoice together'." 

My companion asked if I thought I was a little too bold when I read
this with him so
I asked him, "Are the only people you want at our next baptism the
branch presidency again?"  I love you all and thank you for what you do for me.  

God bless.
Elder Wilde

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 22 - January 18, 2016

Well, hello everyone! 

To start, just wanted to share that I had a friend
pass away this week, Arron Wolfe.  It's always unfortunate and sad to
hear someone passing away.   I'm sure his family is in need of support
and love at this point.  I was never that close to him, but I do know
he was a great guy.  I'm very grateful to have the understanding of the
gospel knowing that someday we will all be able to see him again.
God's plan for us ensures us the opportunity to be with our loved ones
not only here in mortality but in the next life as well.  Keep them in
your prayers.

This week was a week full of ups and downs - miracles and blessings.

I just want to start out by testifying of the reality of the Power of
the Priesthood.

THREE UNDENIABLE EXPERIENCES

- I may have mentioned this experiences but I'll retell it -- my first
one was a few weeks into the mission we were teaching a recent convert
who had been baptized a few months before I got here.  Her husband was
not a member and he didn't want ANYTHING to do with Mormons.  He was
Buddhist and just was against us and against his wife joining the
church.  Anyways, one night it was like... 8:55 we had to be in really
soon, so we were hustling to the home, ran passed her home and I just
distinctly remember hearing in my head, "Turn around," so I turned
around and stopped Elder Andrus and it was the convert's home.  So we
walked up to the house, knocked on her door, and she was like, "I have
been praying for help all day.  My baby is very ill, the doctors don't
know what's wrong with him.  Would you please give him a blessing?"--the
father wouldn't allow it basically all week, but it was finally to the
point where the father was like, "Fine, you can try your 'blessing,'" so
we were both like, "Of course, we can do that for your baby."   So we took
out some olive oil, placed it on the child's head, and I had never given
a blessing before.  I was nervous, Elder Andrus assured me just to
listen to the Spirit and give the blessing and rely on the Lord.  That
baby was crying so loud, extreme fever, everything, but the second we
laid our hands on his head that baby went quiet, the room went quiet,
the Spirit was SOO strong and after we took our hands off his head, the
mother was in tears -- the baby was within a matter of moments...
Fine.  We came back the next morning, the baby was back to 100% health.
After I gave the blessing, Elder Andrus asked me if I remembered
anything I said, and I replied, "Not a word," but I knew it was at that
VERY moment I was simply a spokesman for the Lord and that He worked
through me to help that child.  Now, some could (the atheists) say,
"That was pure luck, the priesthood is a joke."  

Okay, let's go on to #2,
but I'm not going in chronological order so just bear with me.
- Tuesday of this last week, we were meeting with Robbie (who got
baptized yesterday) and he was just screaming, moaning, and groaning
and crying (kind of an inside joke between Elder Andrus and I).   Anyways,
he was just in extreme pain, he has tumors in his feet, nerve damage
all throughout his body, he couldn't move a muscle when we came over,
at the end of our lesson the Elder I was with, Elder Pule (he's the
Zone Leader, we were on exchanges) asked if I had given Robbie a
blessing yet, and I said... "No."   I'm not sure why I hadn't, but I asked
Robbie if he would like one (he's 32 yr. old) and his mother said, "Yes,
give him one Elder Wilde!"  So of course I said I would.  Elder Pule
being the massive man he is, lifted Robbie and sat him down on a
chair.  
(Elder Pule, the Zone Leader, is from New Zealand.)

We continued with the blessing, and in the blessing I
specifically remember telling him that if he remained faithful and
relied on the Lord, he would "bless you and lift you up."  Anyways, the
blessing ended and the very VERY second we ended that blessing, he got
up - SHOT UP - and said, "I'm going to get the mail downstairs, where
are my shoes?"  My nice little Asian eyes, were probably the biggest
anyone had ever seen them.  In my head I was like, "YOU WERE SCREAMING
THE PAST HOUR AND YOU COULDN'T MOVE, WHAT?!"  He acted like nothing was
wrong, he just walked away... Got his mail, came back and was fine....
So we came back a few days later (Friday) and Elder Lake was like, "You
think he will be ready and healthy for the baptism?"  I asked him, "Do
you think the Lord wants him to be?"  (Yes was the answer to that
question) and yes when we saw him he was standing cooking us burgers
walking around.  Yesterday Robbie walked down those steps into the
water and was baptized and told us his legs felt great.  The lord
prepares those who are willing to prepare themselves.
(Elder Copeland with Robbie at his baptism.)
- A few weeks ago, well a month ago, maybe I can't really remember - a
member of our branch suffered some sort of stroke or something, the
doctors weren't really sure.  They found some sort of bacteria or virus
in her blood that was in turn soon to kill her and the doctors
basically told her that she could very possibly die soon.  Well, that's
what she told us, I don't know if they told her that, so the branch
presidency along with us were able to go give her a blessing - it was
only a few days later we came back and she wasn't there... We were all
like.... "Do you think she..., yknow?"   So we went to the nurse and
she told us, "She got better way faster than anyone.  She was close to
dying, but she is at the rehabilitation center now."

I have many other things that I could share ,but I don't like writing
lengthy "essays" so I'm just going to leave off with a story I read
this week which does a great job about discussing trials and what
missionaries go through to a small degree:

"When my mission seemed tough, I’d think about wrestling. I t required
hard work too.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I was very small for my age.  I
was 5′2″ and weighed 105 pounds.  When you’re 5′2″ and 105, not many
coaches want you playing basketball, unless you have exceptional
talent, which I didn’t.  You also don’t make a very good linebacker for
the football team.
I was sitting in the gym one day watching the basketball tryouts, when
the wrestling coach walked by and said, 'We need a few tough guys your
size who can wrestle for us.'
I thought to myself, 'Obviously I look pretty tough to the coach, so
I’ll give this wrestling a try.'  I told him I would do it.
My first problem was finding the wrestling room.  After some searching,
I found it was three stories under the basketball court in an
unventilated, very dimly lit cubicle.
"As I entered the room, I found the first thing you need to overcome in
wrestling is the odor produced by 50 young men sweating in a room with
no air circulation.
I found the coach. Instead of being polite and friendly as he had been
the day before, he seemed grouchy and mean. He pointed to a kid across
the room and said, 'Wrestle him.'
I looked at the kid and thought to myself, 'This will be a snap.'  He
was shorter than I was and looked as if he had missed a few meals.  I
turned to the coach to say he had made a mistake and surely there was
someone else I could wrestle.  As I did this, the kid grabbed me and
for the next three hours gave me a wrestling lesson I’ll never forget.
He rubbed my face in the mat and twisted me into positions I didn’t
think possible.  Finally, after three hours of mat work, I thought we
were done.  Not quite.  Up to the halls we went, where the coach led us
in wind sprints and jogging.  Finally, four hours after practice began,
we were finished.  I sat on the bench in the locker room totally
exhausted.
"The coach called me into his office.  He said, 'How much do you weigh?'
I replied, 'About 105.'
He said, 'You’ll be wrestling 98 in three days.'
That was 7 percent of my body weight. 'I’ll have to go without
eating,' I protested.
He said, 'I know.'  So to my surprise, a wrestler not only had to work
out for four hours, he couldn’t eat after the workout.  I made weight
at 98 pounds and put up with this difficult schedule for three weeks.
Finally I had had enough.
"I went home and told my dad that I was going to quit.  I thought he
would be elated after seeing how much I had suffered.  Instead he said,
'I never took you for a quitter.  I always thought when you started
something, you finished it.'
Well, if he was going to say that, I certainly would not quit now. I
said, 'I guess wrestling is not so bad after all.'
I stuck it out.  For four long months I stuck it out.  It was never
easy.  In fact, it was the most difficult thing I had ever done.  It
wasn’t glamorous.  The basketball team got all the recognition.  They
got the nice locker room and all the new facilities, and the entire
school showed up to their games.  The school had to assign four members
of the pep club to go to wrestling matches.  No, it wasn’t glamorous.
But much to my surprise, at the end of the difficult season, I had a
feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that I had never felt
before.  The most difficult thing I had done in my life turned out to
be the most rewarding.
"The Lord has never promised that obedience to his commandments would
be easy or glamorous.  What he has promised is a great feeling of
satisfaction, a blessing of inner peace which comes only from adhering
to the principles of the gospel.
"Joseph Smith certainly was not given an easy responsibility.  He and
his family and members of the Church were persecuted unmercifully.  It
wasn’t glamorous.  He was laughed at, beaten, tarred and feathered.  In
fact, he gave the ultimate sacrifice when he gave his life.  This he
did because the Lord commanded him to do it.
"There was a prophet who chose for a time not to follow the Lord.  Jonah
was commanded by the Lord to go to Nineveh.  He chose not to go, but
instead boarded a ship to try to escape.  The sea became very rough and
the boat was about to capsize.  Jonah knew what the problem was and
requested he be thrown overboard.  Jonah was swallowed by a big fish.
After three days and nights in the belly of the fish, Jonah was
repentant, and the fish spat him upon the shore.  Jonah went to Nineveh
and convinced the people to repent.  I’m sure he had great satisfaction
in doing as the Lord commanded.
"I certainly don’t want to compare myself to the great prophet Jonah.
But I had an experience in my life where I was greatly rewarded for
doing something that, although very difficult, was what the Lord
wanted.
"As a young man, I prepared to go on a mission.  Every returned
missionary I had heard said it was the best two years of his life.  I
interpreted this to mean that a mission was easy and glamorous.  In a
vain and arrogant manner, I figured the Lord would want someone of my
ability and talent to open up China or Russia or India.  At the very
least, he would want me to serve in Japan or Europe.
I sent in my papers and eagerly awaited the moment when my call
arrived in the mail.  When it finally did, my mother and I opened the
letter.  In big words at the top of the page, it said, 'You are hereby
called to the Colorado Denver Mission.'
"My heart sank.  I thought, 'How could this be? How could the Lord do
this to me?'  And to add insult to injury, they included a map of the
mission.  It included small towns in eastern Utah and parts of Wyoming.
I thought, 'This is not exotic.  This is embarrassing.'
I looked at my mom and said, 'Mom, I’m not going to Colorado on my mission.'
She looked at me and said, 'Let’s talk to your father when he gets home.'
When my father got home, I said to him, 'Dad, I don’t want to go to Colorado.'
I thought he would say something like, 'I never took you for a
quitter. I thought when you started something, you would finish it.'
Instead, he said, 'Son, I’ll support you in whatever you want to do.
If you want to go to Colorado, I’m behind you.  If you don’t want to
go, I’m also behind you.  But before you make that decision, I think
you should fast and pray to see what the Lord wants you to do.'
We fasted and prayed until the next evening.  When we finished the
fast, we knelt and prayed.  In the end the Lord gave me a witness that
Colorado was where I was called and where I should serve.  As we ended
the fast, I said to my dad, 'I guess Laramie won’t be so bad after
all.'
He looked at me and said, 'Yes, it will.'
"I found that a mission was not easy.  In fact, it was the most
difficult thing I had ever done.  Working and living 16 hours a day for
the Lord wasn’t easy.  I found a mission was not glamorous.  People
laughed and scoffed at us, dogs bit us, and doors slammed in our face.
But as everyone who applies himself on a mission knows, it is the most
rewarding experience of one’s life.  The Lord blessed me beyond my
ability to receive it, and I felt an inner peace and satisfaction I
had never felt before.
"The Lord promises us blessings of inner peace and happiness.  And that
is really all that truly matters.  I testify that the only way to true
happiness is through obedience to the Lord’s commandments no matter
how hard it is."
I'll attach pictures of the week, it started snowing, Robbie was
baptized.  It was a great week, I'll leave out the tough part - smiles
all around :-)

 (Elder Wilde and the snow!)
God bless.

Elder Wilde

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 21 - January 11, 2016

Well, hello there everyone! 

Transfer four has officially started up! 
It was very hard to say bye to Elder Andrus, after being with each other
24/7 for 4 1/2 months--you basically become brothers, but I'm sure he
will do great in his next area - Potstown.  As for me, my new companion
is named Elder Lake.  He has been out for about a year and two months.
One could say we do not share the same interests - Actually complete
opposites one could say... Anyways, it's been interesting serving with
him and as my brother told me in his last email to me, "You will have
growing pains here and there."
My companion, not knowing the area, the week was somewhat "on me" he told me.  We
had one of our best weeks (number wise) but I must say, falling asleep
in your church clothes after nightly planning feels great.  Really
nothing too crazy took place this week.  It was very busy.  We were able
to get five really great new investigators.  They are all awesome and a
few of them came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it. 

Hmmm, I guess this week I just wanted to discuss some of my studies with you.
For the most part, I have been reading a lot of conference talks,
teachings of presidents (of the church) and of course in the standard
works, mostly in the Bible (New Testament).  They all come together
though and I'll try to make it apply to each and every one of your
lives.
My studies this week were mostly on how to become an example to others
to the point where they want to follow you.  I have found in the
mission and in life that there are just soooo many people that
whenever they obtain some type of leadership position or stewardship
over anyone to any degree, they exercise it with unrighteous dominion.
I started reading in Matthew 5:14-16 which reads as follows
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Then I picked up and started reading in the Book of Mormon in the book
of Alma 39:11
11. Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing;
suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked
harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the
Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my
words.

It is pretty clear that in order for anyone to listen to you or even
want to follow you or be like you - you have to set that example, that
correct example.  It's important because if your conduct isn't up to
the standard the Lord wants it to be, it drives others away from doing
good deeds and leads them to do things that aren't necessarily good or
appropriate.
I read from a conference talk which was entitled, "Choose the Light," the
light of course is Jesus Christ described in John 8:12 which reads :
12 ¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the
world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have
the light of life.

The talk goes onto describe how we all go through very rough dark
times of our lives.  We all have our own personal "low" where
everything we know, every truth we hold on to eventually withers away
in times of hardship.  We have all felt this way.  Elder Vern P. Stanfill who gives
this talk gives an analogy of how he and some friends went bicycling and
they were going to go through a very long dark tunnel, so they
equipped themselves with flashlights - however, once into the tunnel,
their flashlights seemed to not produce enough light to guide them
through their "dark time."  This obviously relates to how if we don't
rely on Him, our Savior, and have faith in Him, then when go through
our lives and something goes wrong, we will be lost and confused.  The
people in the tunnel in turn had one flashlight that proved sufficient
and they relied on that person's flashlight, but it was only before so
long that his flashlight would run out as well - this is like how we
may run to our family our friends etc. when we need help, but
unfortunately there will be times when maybe even they won't be there,
they won't know or understand - the only person who does understand
who can help is the person who has gone through every pain and sorrow
imaginable - Christ.

I read in Luke 22:32 about the responsibility we all hold to strengthen our peers: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. What does it mean to "strengthen our brethren" though?  And how does one do that?

In my opinion, it's to uplift, inspire, motivate them, bring them to
become better, better people.  It's interesting though because it's so
easy to say but so much harder to be done.  It's done through having
charity, charity is the PURE LOVE OF CHRIST - to be able to look at
someone after they have wronged you, hurt you, done this and that to
you or to someone and STILL love them, still want to serve them.  To
close, I am just going to copy and paste one of my favorite chapters of
scripture --

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all
mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I
could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give
my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
8 Charity never afaileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall
fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part
shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish
things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now
I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest
of these is charity.

I don't really have that many pictures this week, I apologize, but I
love you all and pray for each and everyone of you - I hope you can
all understand and learn what things you need to do in your life to be
more of an example.  We all have been given talents, use them wisely.

God bless.

Elder Wilde

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 20 - January 4, 2016

Well, happy new year everyone!  Can't believe it is already 2016!
Philadelphia just kind of plays with ya.  One day it'll be a normal temperature and then other days (today) you'll walk outside and become an icicle.  However, it is interesting that there is still NO snow, it's actually a record.  I'm sure it will just come later though, just a little prolonged.  The wind though...oh man, it pierces through everything you wear... Four layers and it still gets right down to the marrow!

This week ended my third transfer (four and a half months) which means
that we received transfer calls.  The Era of Elder Andrus & Wilde came
to a close.  After a respectable 7 months in South Phila, Elder Andrus
will be leaving and I will be staying here.  I'm excited to receive a
new companion and nervous at the same time.  Let's just say not all
missionaries are like Elder Andrus, so it should be interesting who I
receive; however, I have a very good idea of who it will be, an Elder I
came out with.  Really cool guy, but we don't find out til tomorrow!
It's been sad having to see my pops (Elder Andrus) pack up and leave.
He gave his testimony in Sacrament Meeting and many of the people he
has worked with for so long were very touched.  He will be missed.

It was a great week here in Philly though!  Always is.  Always is.  I'll
share a few experiences of the week.
video
I'll start with a little miracle :) 1. I was on exchanges with the Spanish missionary that we live with in my area, and we had an amazing day planned.  Marcus (20 yr. old) who we helped become reactivated after not coming to church for 5 years was suppose to come out with us because we had a few lessons that night and we couldn't get inside the home without another male adult - so we come to his home and he's not there.  He forgot so he just wasn't there... I was very frustrated considering I told him that we were picking him a few hours prior.  Anyways, Elder Oriostegui and I sat inside his home waiting for him.  I began to look at my planner, frustrated at the time we were wasting and we always have back ups that we are ready to visit if something falls through, so I went through all the backups looking at which one to go to and I got a strong feeling to visit a specific one that lived a bit north.  I told the Elder I was with that we needed to go, but he thought we should stay.  I told him you can stay but I'm going (which was a joke because you can't leave your companion at ANYtime, so he had to come with me).
So he reluctantly got up and after walking maybe 50 feet, we turn the
corner and Marcus is at the very very end of the street JUST about
ready to turn the corner.  If we would have waited a second longer we
would have missed him.  Anyways, I know that because I listened to the
prompting and because we were able to find him, we were able to go
have some great lessons that night.  Marcus plans on serving a mission.
He passed the Sacrament this Sunday in church for the first time in
years.

2. Yesterday in church during priesthood meeting (3rd hour of church
where all the men meet), one of our investigators - Robbie (baptism on
the 17th, has tumors in his feet and knees) answered a question that
was asked.  The question that was asked was, "What is missionary work?"
Now - the question wasn't necessarily directed about how we serve for
two years but more how can we serve other people around us.  Anyways,
when the question was asked, Robbie's hand sprung to the air, and Elder
Andrus and I sat there so curious to what he was about to say... He
said, "Missionary work is when you leave your family friends and school
behind for two years so you can teach people about Jesus Christ."
............................ I was almost in tears!  I was like, "THAT'S
MY MAN RIGHT THERE!"  It was awesome!

3. Yesterday was Fast Sunday which is the first Sunday of every
month where we have the opportunity to go without food or water for 24
hours showing the Lord that we are willing to make sacrifices, be
obedient, and really strive for an answer or blessing that we are in
need of.  Anyways, Robbie fasted that he will be able to be ready for
his baptism on the 17th and we fasted for him, of course.  However, after
church ended, the Bishop came to us and offered Elder Andrus and I a
few jelly beans.  Not thinking, we took some and after I ate it, I was
immediately in guilt and was like, "NOOOO! I broke my fast dangit!"  Robbie
was standing right there and refused to eat a jelly bean when asked --
fast forward 4 hours later, he went to a recent convert's house to
watch the Eagles game and the recent convert, Mike, made some pot
roast and invited us over.  It was 4:00 and we all ate, but Robbie
WOULD NOT EAT.  He was like, "I'm going 24 hours!  I have until 5:00 PM!"  I
was just like... "Oh, my... You're awesome!  Ugh, yes!

4. Yesterday night we had the opportunity to go a convert's home.  She
is from the Philippines and she always had the missionaries over for
something called Baloo, which is basically a raw chick fetus.  Having
lived overseas in Shanghai, I had seen some pretty nasty stuff.  This
was very gross as well, but I didn't hesitate to dive in, while the
Spanish missionaries nearly were crying... It was lots of fun though. 
I'll attach a video!
video
We did lots of other stuff this week, but I can only write so much so I'll attach some photos and videos because they speak 1000 words right?  Lol.
 Visiting Downtown Philadelphia

 Visiting the construction site of the new Mormon Temple in Downtown Philadelphia.
 Elder Andrus, the two Spanish speaking missionaries, and Elder Wilde


I want to share part of a conference talk I really like and how it can be applied to all of our lives.  It is called, "What Lack I Yet?" by Elder Larry R. Lawrence.  You may click on the link below to read or listen to the entire talk.


"We need to ask the Lord for directions along the way.  We have
to ask some difficult questions, like 'What do I need to change?'   'How
can I improve?'   'What weakness needs strengthening?'   Let’s consider
the New Testament account of the rich young ruler.  He was a righteous
young man who was already keeping the Ten Commandments, but he wanted
to become better.  His goal was eternal life.  When he met the Savior,
he asked, 'What lack I yet?'  Jesus answered immediately, giving
counsel that was intended specifically for the rich young man.  'Jesus
said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast,
and give to the poor, and … come and follow me.'   The young man was
stunned; he had never considered such a sacrifice. He was humble
enough to ask the Lord but not faithful enough to follow the divine
counsel he was given.  

"We must be willing to act when we receive an
answer.  President Harold B. Lee taught, 'Every one of us, if we would
reach perfection, must [at] one time ask ourselves this question,
‘What lack I yet?'  The Holy Ghost doesn’t tell us to improve
everything at once.  If He did, we would become discouraged and give
up.  The Spirit works with us at our own speed, one step at a time, or
as the Lord has taught, 'line upon line, precept upon precept, … and
blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, … for unto him that
receiveth I will give more.'  For example, if the Holy Ghost has been
prompting you to say 'thank you' more often, and you respond to that
prompting, then He may feel it’s time for you to move on to something
more challenging--like learning to say, 'I’m sorry; that was my
fault.'  

"I would like to suggest that each of you participate in a
spiritual exercise sometime soon, perhaps even tonight while saying
your prayers.  Humbly ask the Lord the following question: 'What is
keeping me from progressing?'  In other words: 'What lack I yet?'  Then
wait quietly for a response.  If you are sincere, the answer will soon
become clear.  It will be revelation intended just for you.  Be
persistent, brothers and sisters, but never be discouraged.  We will
have to go beyond the grave before we actually reach perfection, but
here in mortality we can lay the foundation.  'It is our duty to be
better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are
today.'  If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are
not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the
important experiences that God wants to give us."

So my question to all of you is what do YOU lack?  Kindness,
generosity, compassion, forgiveness, etc. ?

Take care everyone, have a wonderful week.

Sincerely,
Elder Wilde