Monday, July 14, 2014

A very short hello from GAM

Howdy y'all,

How are you today? Good? I sure hope so! Every day is a good day with the perspective of the gospel :) 
Super short hello today... we're busy, busy, busy!
I just wanted to share something that I learned this week... which is the importance of our desires (or in other words, our hearts).
Here is a simple diagram to illustrate my thoughts.

Desire --> belief (in the word of God) --> action (in faith) --> change (repent) --> receive (The Spirit) --> results (fruits of the spirit)

And the fruits, or those things that we feel as we act upon the word of God.... those will fuel our desires. 

Ok, so I have a lot less time than I thought! So let me ask you this... what do you treasure most in your life? My intent in asking is this: Where are treasures are, there our hearts (or desires) lay also. As we prioritize the gospel... the word of God... and we desire to follow the word of God each and every day... each and every moment of our lives... and as we choose to believe that they are true.... that the promised blessings (the fruit/results) really will come as we act upon them and make changes in our lives to live in greater accordance with those things... and then we do just that, we go and act upon them... there are just an endless amount of blessings that come from acting in accordance to the word of God. But it's all a choice! So my short invitation is this... read and ponder the words of God daily and then I invite you to act upon those things that you learn... and see if you don't find greater happiness and joy in your life as you do so. I promise miracles and blessings to come as you do! But it all starts with your heart and your desires... if your heart isn't in the right place, then pray and ask God to help you soften your heart so that you can be. He will bless you with that gift. I promise. I know these things are true for myself and testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Love y'all!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Elder Wahlen and other missionaries!

                                        Gotta love that smile!

                                                            Keep on keeping on!

Early Hello from GAM HD!

Hello everyone!

Happy late 4th of July! The 4th was great down here... nothing like serving the Lord and teaching families (and the YSA) about the restored gospel on the 4th in the middle of downtown ATL!

I'll keep it short today... the work is hastening after all! 
Something that has been pressing upon my mind and spirit is the topic of the Atonement. More specifically the ENABLING power of the Atonement. I pray that in relating some recent experiences that I've had to you today that you will be able to instructed by the Holy Ghost as to how you can more fully utilize, recognize and appreciate the power of the Atonement in your lives.

However, before relating these experiences, I feel that we should briefly discuss what exactly the "Atonement" is.... so what is it? Simply stated, the Atonement is a comprehensive term used to describe the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It's because of the Atonement that we can and will overcome the obstacles of physical death and spiritual death (sin) which are the obstacles that prevent us all from entering into the Kingdom of God once again. It's also the way and power in which we can overcome all obstacles, trials, afflictions, etc. in this life.... and the way in which we can all learn, grow and improve. More specifically, the word "Atonement" means and describes the atoning sacrifice that Christ paid in order for us so that He can remove the effects of sin (and suffering) from our lives as we follow His example and teachings. Think to make even or equal or to pay for....
Now, that is not all that can be said or described about the Atonement... but want I want to talk about now is how the ENABLING power of the Atonement has blessed me recently in my life and service. The enabling power of the Atonement being the ability that we have to overcome obstacles and to learn and grow as we rely on the Savior and His Atonement for us.

While I was serving in ATL on the 4th of July... I went on exchanges with an Elder who had been struggling with his confidence over the last several weeks... he felt overwhelmed being in the big city and with the new responsibilities as a district leader and trainer. We sat down for lunch and I was asking him how I could help him... and he responded with this question: "Elder Wahlen... how did you become so confident?". Initially, I internally laughed and scoffed at the question... me? Confident? NO WAY!!! But what I realized and the Lord helped me to see in that moment is just how much I've grown through the enabling power of the Atonement. I answered this Elder and relayed my feelings to him about this very thing by saying something along the lines of this.... I'm not confident at all! In fact, the more I learn and with the different things I'm asked to do, the less and less confident I feel! Less and less confident in myself, that is. But what I've learned is this... I've learned more and more to have faith in the Lord and trust in Him and His promises... and those promises are that as we act in faith and do our very best, that the Savior will be there to guide you... and that everything will be ok. Everything WILL work out... and if you make a mistake along the way, then that's ok! That's what the Atonement is there for... it's the light that leads you down the tunnel of uncertainty and over the stumbling blocks, turning those into stepping stones... but it's also the enabling power that helps us to overcome mistakes and to learn and grow from them. It's by receiving the strength of the Lord through our faithful actions that we are enabled to do more... to do things beyond our mortal capabilities and capacities... and to keep taking those steps, even if they seem impossible or even painful that will enable us to become more like Him... and we are always able to receive of that power... as long as we have faith and follow Him. I'm not sure if my answer helped this Elder or not... but it helped me.

So how do we receive of this strength? How do we become enabled by this power of the Atonement?

The next day, I went on another exchange with a different set of Elders. Before the exchange started, I felt sick! I felt so worn out and just bleh! I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to do much good and the exchange was going to be anything but a faith building and helpful experience for the missionaries we were with... but I knew that the Lord wanted us there and that we were on His errand. I decided to retreat into the bathroom and say a prayer. I prayed for the strength of the Lord and humbly submitted that I couldn't do this on my own... that I needed His strength and I needed help through the enabling power of the Atonement. I prayed and prayed and prayed with all my heart and finally after several minutes I concluded the prayer and walked out of the bathroom to begin the exchange. It only took a few short minutes... but the power came. My body received strength, the weariness in my legs was taken from me and I was filled with power that was not of mine own. The day went very well and we saw many miracles... and I've felt perfectly fine ever since. I received of the enabling power of the Atonement in my life as I humbled myself before the Lord, recognizing that I was and am too weak to do what was asked of me without His help... and then prayed and asked the Lord for His strength. Then, I went out and worked. I acted in faith and trusted the Lord and His promise that He would and will be with me. 

Now, I could've accredited this strength to the peanut-butter smoothie I had a few minutes early (which was amazing!)... I could've passed it off as coincidence, but I am here to testify that it was the power of the Atonement. I am not able to do the things that I'm able to do right now on my own strength or because of tasty smoothies or by any other way or means... it is only by the enabling power of the Atonement that I am able to do more.

I'm needing to wrap this up more quickly then I had planned... but brothers and sisters, my dearest friends and family... I can testify to you that the enabling power of the Atonement is there for you. Each and every day. Each and every moment. And we NEED that power in our lives. I've come to realize more and more just how weak and pathetic I am as a mortal man... but I've also grown that much more strong in my reliance upon the Lord and His strength. I promise that as we humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His strength... and have faith that it will come as we ACT IN FAITH... I promise that it will come. It's real. The Savior lives and His power is real. You will be helped and you will overcome. I promise this power comes most as we reach out and help others... and invite others to receive of these blessings and power in their lives. We are enabled to do His work every single day if we are willing, worthy and act in faith... and ask Him for this guidance and help. I invite each of you to strive to access this power more each and every day of your lives... especially as you pray and seek for ways to help others come unto Christ. I testify of these things in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all so much! Have a blessed week.
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, June 30, 2014

hello from the office of GAM

Hello everyone!

How's everyone doing today? It's a wonderful and beautiful day here in Peach Tree City... and the work of the Lord is rolling forth! 
I will be brief today... but I wanted to relay some things that I've learned the last couple days:
Something that has been pressing on my mind and spirit lately has been the importance of simple, daily obedience. We had a wonderful opportunity at church on Sunday to listen to a special speaker... his name is Bob. I know, right? Just Bob. But this is no ordinary Bob... Bob is in fact an undercover police officer. He works with the FBI to bring down drug dealer, smugglers, murders and just about every other kind of criminal you can think of. He goes among some of the most vile and dangerous people that our world has to offer nearly every day of his life and puts himself in harms way to uphold the safety and well being of this country... yet through all this, he maintains his testimony and faith. I will keep things short due to my time restrictions today, but Bob said one thing that hit me really hard in regards to simple and daily obedience... when discussing with us the dangers of his work and the conflict of interest it seems to pose with his required actions and environments... and after someone had pointed out the small pistol strapped to his ankle... Bob said this: 

"I rather have an active temple recommend in my pocket with all the blessings and protections that come from that, and having studied my scriptures that morning than any amount of tactical gear or weaponry that they could give me. The Lord protects me. My answer to pollution is dilution. I dilute myself with good things daily."

Wow! This is a man who has guns pointed at his head, who runs down murders, who fights against the evils of the world each day... and yet, he relies on the Lord for his protection. He relies on scripture study, the blessings of an active temple recommend... and those are the things that keep him safe both physically as well as spiritually (and I believe we can assume emotionally and mentally as well). The importance of simple, daily obedience cannot be understated in the case of Bobs' life... and certainly the same can be said for each of us. We must take life one day at a time... one small and simple choice at a time. As we focus on each day and what the Lord needs us to do just for that day... and we choose Him in each decision we make... we can know and rest assured that the Lord is with us "with-soever thou goest". 

Brothers and sisters... my dear friends and family. I testify to you that simple, daily obedience is a line of safety that we all must cling to in this darkening and ever so dangerous world. There is safety for our souls which can be found each day as we simply choose to obey. I invite each of you to review your daily obedience to the small and simple things such as daily scripture study (drinking from the well of living water), daily prayer, weekly temple attendance and the other daily and weekly simple acts of obedience and blessings that we have available to us. As you do so, I would invite you to prayerfully seek ways to improve upon your daily acts of obedience so that you may more fully "put on the whole armor of God" and receive more blessings, happiness, peace of mind and protection in your life each day. Just take things day by day... "Therefore, let the things of the morrow take thought for themselves." I so testify of these things in the name of the Savior, Jesus the Christ, amen.

Love y'all!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, June 23, 2014

more pictures

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hello again from peachtree city

Good day to y'all,

How's everyone doing??? Wow. What a wonderful day today. I'm looking out the window right now... we're so blessed to be here on this beautiful Earth. Every day is a blessing!

I know a missionary that had an incredible experience this last week... and I wanted to share with y'all his thoughts and feelings and the lessons we can learn from them about Gods plan 
and love for each one of us.
 know a missionary that had been struggling with many different things for a long time. He had been struggling with health, success in the work, crazy emotional and spiritual roller-coasters... and to sum it all up... he was just feeling completely worn out and defeated. He had been giving every ounce of his energy he possibly could to serving the Lord and helping families come together for time and all eternity through the restored gospel, but he just seemed to be hitting more and more obstacles in every aspect of his work. He battled each day and took things one at a time... but he began to feel overwhelmed. His health had been giving him troubles on top of the normal missionary stresses and he was starting to feel a sense of hopelessness and thoughts of quitting... of giving up and throwing in the towel... and even thoughts of perhaps going home early from his missionary service started to creep into his mind. He felt perhaps he could go home and recover. Come back out and try again when he felt normal. Perhaps it was a mistake he was here right now? Maybe he was suppose to be at home doing something else? These thoughts haunted him... yet he kept going and things kept getting worse. Eventually, he hit a rock bottom point where he felt that he was ready to give it all up. He reached this point on a Sunday night... the night before he and his companion were going to receive a phone call from the mission President on what he was to be doing for the upcoming transfer... and he felt that in all likelihood, that he was going to have to confess his frustrations and let the President know that he was through with it. He was defeated and couldn't go on. He went to bed with this thought and plan in mind and awoke the next day and went about things with those feelings and thoughts still burning within him... but luckily, the Lord came into his life and spoke to him through small and simple but peaceful means. He watched some mormon messages that his companion had started to play in the morning while getting ready and each one of them spoke directly into his heart and mind. He began to feel at peace and the Saviors love for him... enough to help him to kneel down and begin to pray. He went into his room and dropped to his knee's and pleaded with the Lord to help him understand why he was experiencing these things... why he felt so alone... why he felt so frustrated... why he was questioning his testimony... why his health was so poor... why, why, why, why... he just wanted to understand why he was experiencing all these things. He prayed and prayed and asked and asked... and finally, he felt at peace... no answer... but peace. He lifted from his knee's and prepared for the day. He began his studies a short time later... feeling much more at peace but still weighing the options in his mind for when the mission President called his companionship about transfers... he didn't have to wait long until the phone call came. He took the phone and began to speak with the mission President... and being an inspired man, the President asked him "How are you? Are you feeling well? How's your testimony?". This was his opportunity... he could tell him right then and there that he wanted to give up... or he could rely on the peace that he had felt that morning and press forward. The spirit spoke to him at that moment and said "Here is your choice. It's up to you." This missionary paused briefly and weighed his options... and luckily, he decided to say "You know President... I'm good. I'm doing good. I'm excited to keep moving forward". Soon after, the mission President informed him of his new assignment for the upcoming transfer... and the most amazing thing happened as the words came through the phone to this missionary. The missionary, having had many months of physical ailments felt a sudden and progressive surge of energy and health flow into his body... his mind was made clear, the pains he had been experiencing were taken from him, he received and felt a new energy of life, energy and light throughout his body... he felt healed. This missionary began to cry as he felt the warmth of the Saviors healing power and the love of God flow through him. He managed to keep things together until the mission President was done speaking and ended the call. As soon as the call ended, the missionary again dropped to his knee's... this time with gratitude and humility in his heart and prayed and thanked the Lord. As he did so, he felt these thoughts and feelings enter into his mind and heart... they can only be described by words, but they weren't words spoken, they were felt. "My son, I love you. I needed you to become who I need you to be. I needed to test, try and prove you. You needed to be polished and forged. Know that my plan is perfect, and if ye shall continue and endure to the end in faith, all things will work out. Everything will be ok. I know of all your needs and I have always been there for you. Trust me. I love you.". That missionary has gone forward from that moment on without a single moment of being tired, feeling sick or feeling of being alone. He has been completely healed and is the happiest he has ever been.
Now, my intent in relying this story is solely for this purpose... to testify of these important things to be learned and to know...
Brothers and Sisters, my dear friends... I know that God lives and that He loves us. He loves us enough to cut us down... to test us, to try us... to prove us herewith if we will do all things whatsoever He has commanded of us to do... even in the face of adversity and affliction. Especially during those hard times! The teacher is most silent during the test. He knows what is best for us and has a perfect plan for us that will always work out in the end if we just keep moving forward with faith and never, ever give up! I know that He is ALWAYS there for you... even when you feel the most alone and abandoned. The light is coming...the dawn always breaks... and that light is the light is His only begotten, Jesus Christ. He sent Jesus Christ here to heal us... to enable us to learn and grow and become who He needs us to be. He suffered and died for us because He loves us and through Him and His atonement, we can and will overcome all things. I invite each of you to keep going... to never give up! Have faith and be patient... things will be ok. I promise! Everything will be ok. God has a plan... and all that He asks is that we keep moving forward... one step of faith at a time... and one day we will understand why. I testify that these things are true and I pray that we can all keep moving forward in faith and help others continue forward in their journey through life and the eternities as well as we reach out to them in love... and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Elder Wahlen forgot to mention

Elder Wahlen, with his humble and unable to boast attitude, decline to mention in his email today that he has just been called to be the assistant to President harding.

He was in shock, but if you are like me you could see this coming from a mile away.

He will be great.  if you want to send him a letter or pkg. his new address will be

Elder Mark Jay Wahlen
Georgia Atlanta Mission
112 Governors square Ste A
Fayettville, Georgia  30215-4805

This is the address of the mission office and he should be able to get his mail there.

I hesitate to send his email as I am not near as wonderful as he makes me out to be, but its a good lesson so I will share it.

Love, Tracy Wahlen