Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 84 - March 27, 2017


What a thrilling week it was here in Phila. 

It honestly was such a bittersweet week.  Elder Andrus and I had our last Zone Conference together, and he told this remarkable story about an experience that he and I had serving together in South Phila as his testimony - it was very touching. 

Our Mission President has to be the most incredible person I have ever met.  I know I've mentioned that before but he honestly is simply amazing.  He told this heart-wrenching story about how 1 of his 9 siblings drifted away from the church and then passed away about 6 months ago.  He found out two months after he passed away about what happened, and that "two months later" was the day before our Zone Conference in Valley Forge.  With nobody knowing what happened, the day before that conference, he got up and did his thing and did it so incredibly.  Well, you could never even think anything was wrong.  Didn't even mention it to my companion and me.   He had been praying for the past three months now whether or not he should share this story and finally he decided he needed it.  He got very emotional telling this story and in the end concluded with something along the lines of, "I tell this story not to bring you or your family grief or sorrow.  I tell this because the message that you share is the ONLY thing that got me through Christmas.  Your diligence in sharing this gospel has allowed my family (converts) to be together for time and all eternity.  Don't take this gospel lightly, don't take your missions lightly.  There are people who need saving, and I was one of them."  I can't do justice to what he said, but it was absolutely inspiring. 

To build off of the two incredible things that already took place this week, we had one of the most incredible baptisms I have ever been a part of - Meredith.  She is 22 going to Temple University studying counseling.  She has to be one of the most amazing people I have ever taught on my mission.  

She spoke and bore her testimony at her baptism, and I haven't shed a tear in a really long time, but this week I did four times... gosh.  Elder Andrus, my Mission President, Meredith, and then I'll tell the next one in a moment.  Her parents were very against her joining the church and when her dad found out, he started calling her things and names one couldn't imagine!  Her parents both came to the baptism (interestingly enough) and Elder Andrus and I took them on a tour of the Phila Temple grounds and the chapel across the street as well.  We taught them the basic principles, etc.  It was incredible. The baptismal service proceeding that couldn't have been more spiritual and at the end, the father accepted a Book of Mormon from his own daughter, and he actually came up to us privately after the meeting and told us how his views have changed and how he is thankful for what we have done for his daughter. 

My last story really quick - try to keep this short.  I'm sure many of you remember Robbie Scott, I baptized him in January of 2016.  He passed away in September of 2016.  His mother was diagnosed with cancer a few months before his death.  We haven't seen her in about a year and a half.  She finally got out of the hospital, she is about to start chemo, but last night we felt we needed to stop by her home as we just heard the news that she was back.  She is this short, bigger, older, black lady - the sweetest person you'll ever meet, quite funny as well.  We knocked on her door and walked in (as we typically do) and she being confined to her bed all day, shoots up from the bed, gets on her feet and bawling her eyes out, starts hugging us and thanking God for bringing us to her home.   After some time of that, we sat back down and she told us more about what happened with Robbie and then said, "I thank God for Him bringing you hear to my home to teach my son.  You two were the only ones who could do it.  Because of you, my son has a chance at eternal salvation."  It was a pretty remarkable experience.  One I will never forget.

It is a pretty interesting feeling being across from someone in the same seat that you sat in and it's been a year and a half - things have changed so much.  I just felt so different sitting there. 

We had some pretty remarkable other things happen this week as well, but I''m not trying to write you a novel here, so I'll conclude with my testimony.

I share this exert from President Uchtdorf: 

"As we increase in faith, we also must increase in faithfulness... There is nothing good unless you do it.  You and I may speak most eloquently of spiritual things.  We may impress people with our keen intellectual interpretation of religious topics.  We may rhapsodize about religion and 'dream of [our] mansion above.'  But if our faith does not change the way we live--if our beliefs do not influence our daily decisions--our religion is vain, and our faith, if not dead, is certainly not well and is in danger of eventually flatlining."

I am thankful for the good news which the gospel is and how it molds us from what we are into what we need to become. 


Elder Wilde

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 83 - March 20, 2017


What a grand week here in a grand city.  It was President's birthday this week.  We had all of the Districts in the mission take a District photo with a happy birthday note/poster, and then we put together a slideshow and went to his house and watched it with him.  It was great.

We got tons and tons of snow on Tuesday.  We were snowed in.  No way we were going anywhere.

Wednesday our car got "iced in" and due to us moving into a new apartment, we didn't have any tools to get ourselves out.  Luckily some people came and helped chisel us out. 
We had a few Skype calls with Meredith as she was at her Condo in Naples, Florida..... lucky!
 Elder Wilde stated: 
"Kadeem, our Ward Mission Leader (Taylor, my cousin, taught him on his mission here in PA).   He, along with our mission president and his wife participated in a Skype lesson with Meredith this week. It was awesome!"
Elder Andrus and I moved her baptism to this Saturday so she could get confirmed Sunday and then go to the temple with the YSA ward on April 7th.  She is sooo excited.  Her family is very supportive of her.  She seriously is so golden, so many stories to tell about her. 

Tai is doing so well, he is excited for his baptism on April 9th.  We pushed his date back a little just because we wanted to give him some more time. 
Joseph, our friend from Ghini says he wants to go back to Africa and tell everyone about Joseph Smith, so yeah, he's pretty solid and he's getting baptized mid April. 
We are still trying to meet up with Kelly.  We are in contact with her but haven't been able to have a lesson.  She has a non-member significant other who I think is pulling her away. Gosh dangit.  She is so solid - pray for her.

We had Stake Conference this weekend.  Elder Alard was there (I think he's a Seventy).  The Stake Conference was seriously incredible.  I'll share three lines and then a simple story that stuck out to me.

-We may be the window to others accepting repentance 
-What is in your heart will determine whether or not you will understand what is being taught 
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the greatest organization on earth.  There is nothing like this. 

The Temple President spoke about how there are so many miracles that take place in the temple.  He told of one individual who was blind, but he got called as an ordinance worker in the temple.  He needed to be able to read, learn, and memorize some specific lines that were lengthy.  He couldn't do it without his eye sight.  The temple president spoke about how when the man came to the temple (I'm not sure where in the temple he was), he received his eye sight for about 15 minutes, just enough time for him to learn, read, and memorize the lines and then right after he memorized it, his eye sight was lost again. 

“However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made … , I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.  It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”  - Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Wilde 

This is the DREAM TEAM!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 82 - March 13, 2017

What a brisk week it was here in Phila.  We are expecting some huge
storms this week, apparently two feet of snow.  Last year, we had, I
believe, 14 inches, so this time it's going to be a lot more!

This week was pretty chaotic.  It was transfer week, so there was so
much going on.  We finished a total of 100 missionaries' transfer plans on
Monday night, and then on Tuesday, transfers took place.

Tuesday night we had the departure meeting for all of our departing

Wednesday we all woke up at 4AM to drive the departing missionaries to
the airport, and then at 4 PM, we went and picked up the new missionaries
from the airport.

Thursday we had a big meeting where all of the new missionaries got
their trainers.

Friday we had our Mission Leadership Council.
It was lots of fun!

Meredith is still doing great, she is so awesome.
Tai is still reading the Sok Mun Mon (Book of Mormon)
Tom got his temple recommend.

This week we met a man named Joseph who is from Ghini, Africa.  He
lives in southwest Phila.  We walked into his house and he had this
HUGE tiger fur coat on.  It was awesome.  I'm trying to get one :)  I'll
make sure to get a picture next time.
He wants to be baptized.  He told us a lot about what's going on in
West Africa right now and I was just sitting there with my jaw down to
the floor listening... we are so blessed to live in the United States.
He came to church with such a great outfit on - also should have
taken a picture.  Dang, I'm slacking.

Elder Andrus and I have been teaching these two members of the church
every Sunday night.  They are so great.  They are both freshman and one
goes to Temple University the other goes to Drexel.  Yesterday we had a very
pivotal moment and one of them said he now wants to serve a mission,
and so he called the Bishop and will now be starting his mission
papers, pretty exciting!

We read part of this talk that he really liked and I'll just attach a
bit from the talk.  It's entitled, "Your Four Minutes."

"Before you were born, you existed as a spirit.  In the presence of a
loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for
a brief moment and, well, perform.  This life is your four minutes.
While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the
prize of eternal life.
I urge you to ponder, 'What do I need to do next to ensure my medal?'
Perhaps during this conference, the Spirit has whispered to you what
that may be:  to prepare more thoughtfully for an ordinance in your
future or to receive an ordinance that you should have received a long
time ago.  Whatever it may be, do it now.  Don’t wait.  Your four minutes
will pass quickly, and you’ll have eternity to think about what you
did in this life."

I had one other unique experience this week - long story short, we
told our ward mission leader he should call our dinner appointments
and invite them to have friends over while we were at dinner, so he
did.  On Thursday night, we went to Joy's place for dinner.  Sure enough
she had two friends over.  I got there, took my shoes off, walked into
the kitchen, and this young women turned around saw my face and dropped
a very colorful word and I was so confused.  Anyways, we went to 5th
grade to 9th grade with each other in Shanghai.  We weren't really
friends, but I knew her a little bit.  We reminisced about Shanghai and
she asked me so much about what it's like to be a missionary, etc.  We
don't share the same religious beliefs, she is actually atheist, but I
was able to share with her what I believed and it was a really great
experience.  I think she must have used the line, "You have changed so
much," at least 50 times while I was there.  I think every time I
replied, "That's what the gospel will do to ya."

I love you all, be good, be great - be good, do good.

Elder Wilde

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 81 - March 6, 2017


Well, this last week was super busy, and I'm super busy today right now
getting prepped for transfers.  Elder Andrus and I are staying together for
another transfer and then he goes home :)

We had a baptism this week for Thomas Ashton.  It was fantastic.  We had
so many people there, members from the Stake Presidency and a few
investigators that attended as well.  He asked if I could baptize him
and I was thrilled to do so.

We got to go to the Temple with the YSA and brought a few of the
people we have been working with, so that was really cool to help them
get a temple recommend and then be able to go to the temple with them.

We took a group of young women from an all women's college on a tour
of the temple grounds and chapel for an interfaith activity.  It was
lots of fun - I really enjoyed it.

It's been a stressful (which is good) week, certainly many learning experiences.
Meredith and Tai are rockstars - they are doing so well.

Meredith sent us a message like an hour ago and she said:  "So today is
like my 10th or 11th day without coffee, but this morning was the first
time (and I worked at 5:30) that I was completely alert and awake
caffeine free  🤗"

Tai came up to us after the baptismal service and said how excited he
was to be baptized.  ALL IS WELL.

I shared a great talk with some individuals this week.  It's entitled, "Stay
by the Tree."

Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is
essential to eternal life.  But when trials and challenges come our
way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.”  Let me be clear:  To
“hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel.  Enduring to the end
means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.
If enduring to the end is essential to eternal life, why do we
struggle to be faithful?  We struggle when we are caught between
competing priorities.  Casual obedience and lukewarm commitment weaken
faith.  Enduring to the end requires total commitment to the Savior and
to our covenants.

True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful
personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and
selfless service.

Once we enter into covenants with God, there is no going back.  Giving
in, giving up, and giving out are not options.  In the kingdom of God,
there is a standard of excellence for exaltation.  It requires valiant
discipleship!  There is no room for average or complacent disciples.
Average is the enemy of excellence, and average commitment will
prevent you from enduring to the end.

Just work hard and love.

Elder Wilde

This was like 1/2 of our transfer planning session last night, our
mission president made a few last minute changes this evening and so
we are back at it again today!