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.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!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