Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 63 - October 31, 2016

Hello, everyone! 
Well, we had a great week to wrap up this transfer.  Elder Lake and I will be staying another transfer together.  We are very excited!  We had an incredible transfer.  We taught 180 lessons and had two baptisms, we were so blessed!  We met all of our transfer goals but were a baptism shy. 
Last night Michelle was baptized.  We had a great turn-out and it was simply amazing.  Such a spiritual experience for everyone.  She is going to be a great member.  

Jack was confirmed this Sunday and we took him out to two teaching appointments and he absolutely killed it.  My jaw dropped listening to him bear his testimony and teach some points in the lessons.  He has come so far!

This week on Tuesday I got to go on an exchange here with an Elder.  We had a great time! I felt bad because on Monday my iPad crashed in the evening and I lost a good chunk of my stuff (luckily two weeks earlier I moved some stuff to my USB).  That was super sad, so the next morning I had to take my iPad to get fixed which took longer then expected.  I was super bummed though for a little bit but got over it pretty quick!  Then that night, this deer jumped out of nowhere and we almost slammed into it!  

Wednesday morning after our exchange, I woke up feeling horrible, I was pretty sick.  Then Elder Lake got sick.  So we are still a little sick but we continued to work, we refused to sit around! 
I had a good birthday on Friday, besides feeling horrible, we had a member take us out to Chick-fill-a for lunch, and then a family named the Fletchers who were in my last ward (the best family out there), drove up from Maryland and took us out to dinner at Texas Road House.  Pretty sure the steak they bought me was thicker than me!  Had a few families throughout the week invite us over and sing me Happy Bday and made me cakes--all that good stuff.  Lovely people :)

Well, we had this crazy lesson with these Filipinos we tracted into.  They are Catholic and we left them with a pamphlet and came back the next day and started teaching the wife and it was super great and then towards the end of the lesson, the husband comes in and we finish the lesson and the guy just goes NUTS on us, so hard hearted, trying to bash - the best was this... we would ask him a question about either the Godhead, baptism for infants (which is a heresy), or where their authority came from, and every single time they would say, "It's a mystery, it's not meant to be known" 
I was so baffled.... I'm just so grateful for all of the knowledge and understanding that we have in the Church of Jesus Christ.  It's comforting to know we don't believe in blind faith but that we are always seeking for answers to questions we have. 
I finished the Book of Mormon on Thursday and have restarted it. 
As I started reading, I noticed a passage I had not seen the previous times I had read in 1 Nephi 3:5.  Basically, Nephi and his older brothers were commanded to go back to Jerusalem after they left to retrieve the brass plates (ancient records) and the brothers are ticked about it.  Anyways in that verse Lehi (Nephi's father) speaking to Nephi says:  "And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord." 
Something that I have learned is that the Lord will ALWAYS ask us to do hard things.  It may never be easy, but it will always be worth it.  Henry B Eyring (an apostle) said:  "If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill" -- the best view is at the top, and in order to get there it is a long, hard, strenuous hike that we must be willing to make to achieve the blessing or "the view."  The greatest law of heaven (well, one of) is obedience and our obedience will always be tested through our sacrifices.  Are we willing to give up something we "love" or maybe even "lust" to the God we love (or should love) more? 
To close, I loved at the end of chapter 7, as Nephi and his brothers had to make another trip back to Jerusalem to get some people to bring back with them and they are all in the wilderness, and Nephi's older brothers are so mad at Nephi they tie him up to a tree and leave him to die, but of course the Lord gives him strength to burst the bands - what I noticed this time I read through is in verse 21 where after all of this, he stands before his brothers again and it says:  "And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done..." idk about you but if I got tied up and left to die in the wilderness by my own family, I would be ticked.  Nephi didn't do anything wrong.  Nephi was just obeying orders and was actually the person that helped his entire family, yet his own brothers reviled against him when he didn't do anything wrong, and in the midst of all of this he just on the spot forgives them and continues the journey.  I definitely learned from this that no matter the circumstances if you are right or wrong, you need forgive, forget and move on.
One of my favorite line of scriptures is, "and it came to pass" - yes every hard time, difficulty, trial whatever will COME, but it will all PASS.  It just matters what you do in that period between COME and PASS that makes the big difference. 
To finish, this morning in my studies I was reading from "Teachings of the Presidents - Gordon B. Hinckley," Chapter 12 for the last 10 minutes and there a few things he said that stuck out to me -
“Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is a season to be strong.  It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission.  It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow.  It is a time to be found keeping the commandments.  It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain.  It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships.  In other words, to become more Christlike.”
We cannot be ordinary people.  We must rise above the crowd.  We must stand a little taller. We must be a little better, a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more courteous, a little more thoughtful, a little more outreaching to others.

To end, President Hinckley tells a story about how the small decisions in our lives have a huge impact on us.

"Many years ago I worked for a railroad. … That was in the days when nearly everyone rode passenger trains.  One morning I received a call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey.  He said, 'Train number such-and-such has arrived, but it has no baggage car. Somewhere, 300 passengers have lost their baggage, and they are mad.'

"I went immediately to work to find out where it may have gone.  I found it had been properly loaded and properly trained in Oakland, California.  It had been moved to our railroad in Salt Lake City [and had eventually arrived in] St. Louis.  There it was to be handled by another railroad which would take it to Newark, New Jersey.  But some thoughtless switchman in the St. Louis yards moved a small piece of steel just three inches [7.5 centimeters], a switch point, then pulled the lever to uncouple the car.  We discovered that a baggage car that belonged in Newark, New Jersey, was in fact in New Orleans, Louisiana--1,500 miles [2,400 kilometers] from its destination.  Just the three-inch movement of the switch in the St. Louis yard by a careless employee had started it on the wrong track, and the distance from its true destination increased dramatically.  That is the way it is with our lives.  Instead of following a steady course, we are pulled by some mistaken idea in another direction.  The movement away from our original destination may be ever so small, but, if continued, that very small movement becomes a great gap and we find ourselves far from where we intended to go. … It is the little things upon which life turns that make the big difference in our lives.

"I approached a large farm gate one day.  I lifted the latch and opened the gate.  The movement at the hinges was so slight as to be scarcely discernible.  But the other end of the gate cut a great arc sixteen feet in radius.   Looking at the movement of the hinges alone, one would never dream of the magnified action that came as a result of that tiny movement.
So it is with the decisions in our lives.  Some small thought, some small word, some small action can lead to tremendous consequences."

Love you all, thank you for your love and support and bday wishes. 
Be good be great!

Elder Wilde 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 62 - October 24, 2016

Hey there! 

Wow, what an incredible and interesting week!
We had a great teaching week and found some great new people that we are going to start teaching. 
The highlight of the week was the temple of course, and the Zone Leaders got to have lunch with the mission president for interviews and then he talked to us individually.  So President got Elder Lake and me some good old Chick-fil-a after the temple and we had a great talk! However, the best was we had the opportunity to hear one of the general authority's speak. His name is Lynn G. Robbins.  He is in the Presidency of the Seventy.  The man blew all of our minds at our mission conference on Saturday and then he attended our stake conference and blew our minds again!  I have never met a better teacher before - EVER. 

For an hour straight, no notes, no nothing he got up being completely led by the Spirit and just expounded on things I have never even thought of thinking about.   Seriously - the Church is true.  After stake conference, I went to go ask him a question that I have been thinking a lot about lately and without hesitation, in like two or three sentences, he gave me the answer and I was just like... why didn't I think of that?! 
I'll talk about some things I learned from him in his two... "inspirational gospel spiels."
Sister Randall, the mission president's wife, got up and said, "What we do determines who and what we become," and then she proceeded to talk about charity.  President Randall got up and asked us if we were sleepwalking on the path of discipleship or are we seeking the kingdom of God, or maybe just looking around.
I studied this later and learned that seeking is to make an effort to obtain or achieve something which of course is being "active and doing" which in turn makes us "be," while looking is simply just gazing toward someone or something which is passive observance which in turns leads us to be acted upon and not acting.  Which are you? 
We talked about this concept of "Do - to - Be" for quite sometime.  Are the things we are doing helping us become the manner of men/women we ought to be which is in 3 Nephi 27:27:  "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto you, even as I am."  We are to be like Christ - Christlike!  Be and Do are inseparable if you have the faith behind the Do's.  The ancient Jews did the works of the law but never had the faith behind it, so it became a stumbling stone as mentioned in Romans 9:31-32:  "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.   For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;" 

If we are ever "do" anything without a Christ-like attitude we will never "Be" or receive the promised blessing.  If we "do" without "becoming" we turn into hypocrites and pretenders. 
He discussed how the mission is the best university and will teach you more about life, marriage and being Christlike than Harvard, Yale and Stanford combined.  We discussed how we need to love our hardships that we face as they are times of greatest growth.  The difficult *specific trial* will enroll you in *Christ-like attribute* Class 505.  As we face trials, it enrolls and allows us to be in a "class" of Christ where we can learn and develop. 
Henry D Moyle about missionary service said:  "I firmly believe and will go to my grave saying that a missionary never or rarely rises in life above the stature of what he comes out of in the mission field." 
If we feel like we are out of love for others or even ourselves, we become acted upon by Satan - love is a choice.  Kindness towards others is a behavior - which is a choice.  You can choose to love others, choose to be kind, choose to do anything, happy, sad, upset, kind, loving etc. 
The one I love most because I feel like I hear it everyday from others is that the second we justify, blame others, or transfer the blame, we lost control and Satan wins, we become acted upon instead of acting, we lose faith - Satan tries to take agency away from accountability when in all reality they cannot be separated. 
The way he ended the mission conference was absolutely incredible - we were discussing about being an example towards others by the way we act and speak and do - he said "Christ's greatest sermon was his life" - Do our actions speak for us in a way that would be pleasing to our Savior? 
In Stake Conference on Sunday, our Stake President, Vai Sikahema, talked about how we need to be simple people with simple lifes, living a simple gospel, doing the basics.  He told us to do our best and let the Lord do the rest. 
Lynn Robbins spoke again and his opening line:  "Thank you for coming here today.  Those who chose not to come and choose not to keep the commandments are selfish and put themselves and the things of the world before God.  WHAT?!  He threw this down to start his talk! 
He proceeded to talk about how sacrifice and obedience are inseparable and how the first law of heaven is obedience which is tested through our sacrifices.  He talked about how where our heart is, there will our time be also, and then he asked us to look at our calendars and asked where our heart was... deep. 
He talked about how repentance is not the back up plan - it is the plan.  Repentance is not for perfect people, it is for progressing people.  The sacrament is to pick us back up from failing. 
True happiness comes from forgetting yourself and serving others. 
He said a lot more, but in essence I just generalized what he said and threw in a few scriptures and words of my own to spice it up. 

This week we met Delia and Derek.  Delia is really, really close to deaf and basically can only hear you if you're shouting - we almost broke down her door by knocking so loudly so she could hear (she was a Bible referral we were contacting).  She lives with her 13 year old son.  Delia is so sweet, she doesn't speak too well, but she's a great listener - which is much more important!  We taught the wonderful message of the Restoration to her and she was reading our lips the whole time and whenever she had a question, she would sign language to her 13 year old son and he would reply. 

Derek had to be one of the smartest 13 year olds I've ever met.  At the end of the lesson, we invited them to be baptized and Derek said, "Yes," he wants to and Delia was like, "I've already been baptized," and Derek turns around to his mom and says to her:  "Mom!  Were you not listening.  You weren't baptized by the correct authority so your baptism doesn't count.  We both need to be baptized!"  I was like.... well yes, he's right.  We didn't want to say it like that though.  They are amazing! 
Another interesting thing that happened - we were suppose to go have a lesson with this new man, but he wasn't there - that's a first.  Anyways, we were about to go get in the car when we felt that we should go knock just like five doors.  The door after was this really nice lady, so we gave our introduction and she told us to come back at a certain time - she wasn't there the time she told us to come back so we were like umm ok, just let us know or we will drop by in the area.  We remembered on Sunday that there was a Hispanic man that wanted a Book of Mormon that lived next to her so we brought a book to his home but they weren't home either.  So we go and knock on that lady's house again and we get this incredible warm loud:  "ELLLLLLDDDDEERRS, WELCOME TO OUR HOME!"  Hahah It was this incredible hilarious Black family.  They allowed us inside and as we were teaching a lesson, they told us:  "We are members of the Church.  We were baptized in 2002."  Our jaw about dropped, we had no idea!  They are wanting to come back and have four children that haven't been baptized.  They also had a Shitzuh, so we got along great.  The Lord works miracles in his own ways and in his own time!  Didn't see that one coming.  However, why didn't the lady at the door in the first place the very first time just tell us she was a member to begin with. 
Well, I love this work so much.  The gospel works.  Our agnostic/atheist investigator who is now not agnostic/atheist told us that something not true couldn't bring him and his family this much happiness.  He has seen the rewards and tasted the fruit!  It's all true! 

Well, I'll be 20 this week, that's weird.  Going to the Philly Zoo today to celebrate :-) 
We also have the baptism for Michelle Cass on Sunday.  We are excited. 
Love y'all :)) 

Elder Wilde

Elder Wilde 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Week 61 - October 19, 2016

Good morning! 
Today is my P-day.  We just finished a session in the temple.  My goodness, I feel so at peace... I told Elder Lake he would have to drag me out because I didn't want to go! Amazing. 
We had an interesting week.  Jack was baptized which was amazing.  After 15 years, the man finally got baptized!  He has changed so much, I guess that's what the gospel does right?  Brother Szary had to dunk him three times, the first time he bout smacked Jack's head against the wall and I thought for a second he was going to have a serious concussion, he survived though :) 

Well, the week started with me figuring out that my money and sunglasses were stolen out of the car while I was on exchanges.  That was unfortunate.  Learning opportunity to just not leave nice things in cars!  Also locking the car too.  That would be good.
Anywho, I was a bit flustered about that for about a bit but then I remembered what I always tell others:  "If you can't change a circumstance, why worry?  If you can change a circumstance, why worry?"  So it is what it is! 

We were blessed this week with every single one of our lessons holding, which is incredible. We are teaching a lot which is always nice. 

We have four incredible people progressing with a date and we are expecting two baptisms on the 30th!  One of whom is Beena - she is so perfect and loves the church so muchWe fasted and prayed for her and she keeps telling us, "I'm very close, very very close."  That has been an odd teaching experience with Beena.  She's lovely though.  We also are having a baptism for a 10 year old girl, Michelle Cass.  She is so smart.  I'm very impressed. 
We had eight investigators come to church this week, one of which was a family named the Conklins who we are working very closely with.  They have come a super long ways.  The mom is an inactive member and has two unbaptized children and a nonmember husband. They all came to church and loved it.  We are going to try and help the kids and husband get baptized by the end of next transfer. 

Everything is going good with the work!  Keep praying for us :-)
This week I finished the entire Bible.  I'm excited to read over it againI think I'm going to have to be a picky with a few of the things I read though, heaven forbid I'm not reading all of the Old Testament again. 

I think the scripture that stuck out to me the most as I was nearing the end of the Bible was Revelation 3:20:  "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:  if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." 

I love this verse because Jesus Christ will never force anything upon us.  He will never force happiness, joy, peace, anything.  He knocks and he waits, he waits until we humble ourselves enough to open the door -- make the changes in our lives to allow him into our lives.  I think the verse after that fits in really well, too.  In verse 21 it says:  "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." 
All of us in our individual lives have a unique set of trials and challenges that we have been given or have gotten ourselves into.  However, the ultimate trial and challenge that was given was the one the Savior was given in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. The Savior can succor or provide aid/relief to all of us in all aspects of our lives and actually commands that we conquer our own setbacks/weaknesses and promises us if we do that, we will inherit everything the Father has prepared to give us. 

I have a firm testimony that we can all overcome anything.  It takes a good mindset, a positive attitude, and most importantly faith that the Savior and his father will "handle it" if we are faithful - I love in 1 John 3:22 where it says:  "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."  As long as we are doing what we are asked to be doing, we will receive all of the blessings that we stand in need of. 

One of my favorite versus to close is 1 John 4:19:  "We love him, because he first loved us." 

Thank you all for your support.  God bless. 

Elder Wilde 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 60 - October 10, 2016

Hello, there!

Wow, what an amazing week we had here in Cherry Hill!  Last Monday, it was absolutely sad to hear about Robbie, but in a few weeks I should be attending his funeral.  We had to drive into Philly to get our car checked up on and so while we were in Philly, I had the great opportunity to go visit a few people who I worked with.  I saw Kevin and Kayla, the two 17 and 15-year-olds we baptized and then the rest of the family.  I was so happy to hear that Kevin and Kayla have both been attending church regularly and going to early morning seminary.  Awesome!  I went to see Arlene Paul, a lady we helped reactivate in the church. She has gone to church basically every single week the past year and has read the entire Book of Mormon and in the middle of it again now - and if you knew Arlene, you know it is a huge stretch for her to do that.  Proud of her.  I got to see Mike, one of the recent converts who we worked with, love that man so much.  He's sadly falling back into his old habits, which is sad, but he will come around! 

This week here in Cherry Hill, we taught the most lessons both of us have had in our mission - 40!  We definitely worked hard and saw so many miracles and were definitely blessed.  We had six of our incredible investigators come to church and four of those have a baptismal date.  Jack and Beena should be baptized this coming Sunday - please pray for them.  They both have testimonies, but you all know how the adversary works! 

So many incredible lessons that were taught and Spirit was felt, but yesterday as we were working so hard to meet our goal of 40, we went and had an unplanned lesson with that lady we gave the $20 a while back.  We hadn't seen her for about two weeks, and when we knocked on her door, she was just in tears and so happy to see us.  She had been going through such a hard time with her family.  Her kids we taught brought the Book of Mormon to their pastor and he ripped it up and said that we weren't Christian and that we didn't believe in Christ.  The kids are now trying to anti her mother into not talking to us and anyways a ton of other bad things are happening to her.  She told us that her phone has been off and that she has wanted and waited for us to come by for some time (she lives far and we just haven't had time to get up there) and anyways, we talked about having joy and what joy even is.  I quoted something I learned the other day about what joy is and how we achieve it --  "A condition of great happiness coming from righteous living... A full joy will come only through Jesus Christ."  We then read all about keeping the commandments and how in Mosiah Chapter 2:41 it says:  "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."  After all that was said and done, we had the most incredible member with us who is just the most humble man, baptized three years ago.  Brother Szary.  He bore his testimony and the room was just lit up with the Spirit.  She started to say that we are God's angels sent from above to save her, what a nice lady!  Haha.  Incredible. 

I was able to give a talk in Sacrament meeting this week. I had about two hours to prepare - it was on "Conversion."  I think I went really well.  I told the conversion stories of Paul and Alma and then discussed the conversion story of Rosa and, of course, mentioned many other things - I'll be sure to attach it on another email if you're interested in reading it.

I went on a great exchange with Elder Winstanley.  He's such a stud.  He serves as an assistant up in Broomall.  We had a great time, had an amazing talk about life and missionaries and testimonies, loved it and definitely learned a lot.  Oh, and got to play some ball in the morning.  He likes to think he crossed my ankles up, but we tied one to one. Pretty cool though that night one of his recent converts Facebooked videod him and told him he is preparing to serve a mission - pride and joy hearing one of the people you've worked with is going to serve the Lord.  I'm excited, I really hope Kevin, Kayla, Destiny, Gabe, Josue, decide to serve missions when their time comes around. 

This week we had Zone training which Elder Lake and I were in charge of.  It went really well.  We asked the question of what was the most powerful and spiritual lessons you've had on your mission and why? (Training was on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion) and we went around the room and shared a few.  I felt I should share the story of Brother Martinez back in Maryland.  He had two unbaptized children and was inactive.  When I first met him, all the missionaries quit on him saying he wouldn't progress, he wouldn't come back, he wouldn't he, wouldn't he wouldn't.  When I met him, I knew that within the time I was given here, I could help.  I remember starting off and he said he was unworthy to come to church, baptize his children, or do anything and he just wanted to quit.  We loved him and assured him he could do it.  His first step was coffee, he drank massive amounts of coffee daily.  We made a schedule/calendar for him and over the next four weeks he got off of coffee and was clean, made it out to church once - one day, however, a month and a half or so maybe even 2 maybe 3 idk, time blends in, we came over and he was in the back of his truck drinking.  As I came around, he quickly tried to hide it and so I just sat down next to him and basically told him, "You can try hide things from people here but no way can you hide it from God."  The next 40 minutes we just listened to him, loved him, encouraged him - there was no opening prayer, there was no closing prayer, we didn't use our scriptures - we just loved him.  Weeks later, he would baptize both of his children after becoming sober, and now is an active member.  I bore my testimony about how if we truly just love others the way God loves us and have faith that others can change - miracles will happen.  We will see our lives change, our companion's lives change and the people we work with change. 

On Saturday, I was asked to speak on the Holy Ghost at an 8 year old's baptism.  She was so cute all dressed in white, what a sweet girl.  I'm not sure why they asked me to speak, but it was nice of them and I talked about how the Holy Ghost is the ultimate comforter.  He will always be with us if we diligently seek Him.  I've definitely been so thankful for the numerous promptings and comfort I have received and felt over the course of my mission.  I definitely have felt Him more as I have read the scriptures.  I've grown to love them so much and find myself in them as much as I can.  

What a fantastic week - spiritual experiences, miracles you name it! 
I love you all, thank you for your support.  God bless. 

Elder Wilde 


Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 59 - October 4, 2016

Hey everyone,

As I wrote this weekly e-mail, one of my companions, Elder Andrus, just informed me that one of the people we worked together and baptized in Philly, his name is Robbie Scott, died this week due to internal bleeding.  He was 34 years of age, such an incredible man with a great heart. 

I had an e-mail typed out but not really what I should say at this point.  I guess we did have a very good week and an incredible time listening to the Prophet and the Apostles speak to us.  I'm grateful for the Plan of Salvation, I'm grateful for the knowledge that I have that we will all live again.   I'm grateful for the Savior who broke the bands of death.  I'm grateful for the gospel. 
Last night we were speaking with a young boy who is 16 and he doesn't have a belief in God.   He is the son of a member.  His best friend died a few months ago and he has wanted nothing to do with God or Christ or the church or the gospel - anything.  As he showed his frustration and resentment last night when we were at his house, I asked him if we could meet with him to which he said yes because he felt pressured.  He later e-mailed us that night and told us that he did not want to meet with us anymore.  I copied a bit of the conversation here which he said to us:

"I'm gonna be honest.  I don't wanna do this learning thing for the month.  I regret agreeing to it and I felt pressured.  I felt like I was being attacked by four people at once.  And I really do not want to do this.  I appreciate you two wanting to teach me and whatnot but through my 16 years, I have not felt even slightly passionate towards the church.  The reason why I have no feelings or belief towards the church is because you people claim miracles that He can do, but April 25th, 2016, after my own and countless others prayers, he failed to save one girl's life who many treasured and cared about.  One person who hundreds cared for. That's why.  I've never had a prayer answered and He failed to save a very close friend's life.   It is not my disbelief in Him that caused my feelings of apathy towards Him and the church.  It's His fault that he couldn't save her and that's why I have my disbelief in the church and for the most part, Him.  Again, thank you for trying, I appreciate this, but it will never happen."

to which I replied to him:

"Thank you for the e-mail.  We appreciate your honesty.  We are not here to pressure you. That is the last thing we want you to feel.  We understand - we are trying to understand where you are coming from.  I've never lost a family member before or a best friend, so I can't express those same feelings of sadness that you are trying to at this time. 
Let's forget about the Church and all this Joseph Smith stuff and the Book of Mormon and all that for the time being.  We would love to just sit down and talk to you face to face, young man to young man and share personal experiences and maybe we can help each other out. 
At the beginning of my mission my dad lost one of his best friends and what he sent to me in an e-mail has always touched me: 

'On a bit of a sad note, I don’t know if you remember Marc and Jen Mangum.  Marc was a good friend of mine growing up and they lived in Virginia the same time we did.  We’d been to their house a couple of times and they’d been to ours as well.  It was a while ago, however.  In any event, Marc went in for a medical procedure about six weeks ago and there were some complications.  He went into a coma and has been in that state ever since.  We found out this morning that he passed away.  Really sad.  He was such a great guy.  Just a reminder that life is so fragile and how grateful we should all be for each day that we’ve been given on this earth.  You never know which will be your last.  That being said, I am sure that he will keep on living his life in the Spirit World and will have an opportunity to do great things there.  That is the beauty of the gospel – the understanding of the importance and significance of the Plan of Salvation and what lies beyond the grave.'

"Life is definitely fragile, life is definitely hard, unfair, even sometimes ridiculous. 
Again - we would love to just sit down and talk to you, no preachy and churchy stuff.  Just talk. 
Before you rule us out, we want you to remember that we are both 19 and 20 year olds who left their family for two years to go to a place they've never been to help people be happy and find peace and answers. 
We are here to talk." 

Again I express my gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the understanding I have at this point to know that yes life is fragile, but this life is just a small time, and then we can all be reunited. I know this is true. 

Elder Wilde