Monday, December 8, 2014

Hi Ya'll

Well he only has 39 days left and he is finally starting to sound southern.  ha ha

Right now he is still living in a hotel, but tomorrow he is supposed to move in with a member.

This will be his address at least for now.

℅ Merrell and Angelia Harcrow
Elder Mark jay Wahlen
2248 Gum Creek Airport rd.
Roopville, Georgia   30170-3617

In case you're interested, his new companion is from new mexico and is 19 and fresh out of the MTC.  He says they get along great and that he also loves basketball.

Last Week we had a problem with his debit card, in that it was not working,  He said that the people are so nice down there that a lady in back of him at the grocery store and another one at a c-store paid for all their stuff, no questions asked.  it's working now, but I think this was a good way for him to really get to know the hearts of the people.

He doesn't want too much stuff to bring home, so for christmas, he would probably love a christmas card and a hand written letter.  He also loves pictures.  His favorite thing is to hear your inspirational stories or ways that you are bringing 
Christ into your christmas and any experiences you have had sharing the message with others.

I am just sending him a small box and then wrapping presents and leaving our tree up until he gets home on the 15th.

Love ya'll,  Tracy

Howdy ya'll

Howdy y'all, 
WOW!!! Y'all need to just pack up and come on down here to Franklin, Georgia! THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE!!! The people here are the most kind and pleasant people on the planet (no offense to the rest of y'all and where you live...) and there are so many amazing miracles happening here! The Franklin Group nearly doubled in sacrament meeting attendance this last week... especially since the Stake President, his wife, his 1st councilor and our technical Bishop and his wife came... that group right there nearly doubled our attendance haha. It was an amazing first fast Sunday meeting! I wish you could've been there... it was as if the spirits of the early church saints and Joseph Smith himself was there. Miracles happened that day! I wish I had the time to tell y'all of all the things that have already happened and are happening... just know that it's truly humbling to be here at this time and to be doing this great work... even if we have to live out of a hotel room for now :) 
One experience I wanted to share with y'all....
Being this is the first time that missionaries have been down here in Franklin, my companion and I are literally starting from scratch with everything... including finding people to teach (not to mention figuring out where the people to teach are down here! We don't even know where to go right now haha).
So one of the first couple days in which we were here, we decided we would go around the town and just knock on as many doors possible and talk with as many people as possible. We started off and went to various area's that we had driven by as we came into the town that seemed like spots where families would be home and that we'd have success in finding people. Well, not much luck. We went most of the day without much success.... and eventually we found ourselves walking back to our apartment and car along the main road that runs through the middle of town. We started to feel a bit discouraged about the day... but then we thought to ourselves... NO! This is exactly when miracles happen! After you've done all that you can and worked to do your very best and AFTER we work through the TRIAL OF OUR FAITH. That's when we'll receive a witness of things (just as Ether 12: 6 directs). So as we walked back, we decided to keep knocking on every door possible... never giving up faith that the Lord would lead us to where He needed us to go. We ended up knocking on one door near the end of our journey back to our car and just as many doors prior, the women who answered the door nearly had the door shut as fast as she had opened it. However, my companion and I got her to stall just for a brief moment before slamming the door shut again by identifying ourselves as representatives of Christ and by asking her who she knew that could use a prayer in their life or a message about Jesus Christ. She paused at the door just long enough for a little girl inside to yell out to us "YES! I know someone! I have a friend that lives just down the street who needs help". We then were able to gather some quick directions and a name for this little girl before the women at the door finally got it shut on us. My companion and I jotted down the name and the directions and ran back to our car. We jumped in the car and drove down to the spot where the little girls directions had pointed us and said a quick prayer before jumping out of the car to go knock on the door. Just as we approached the house, an older women, a young mother and 2 small girls came out of the house and started to get in the car to leave. We called out with a friendly hello and asked them if they knew of the person that we had been told lived there and could use a prayer and message about Christ. The young mother paused with a strange look on her face as we said the persons name... we asked her if she knew who we were talking about (and ensured her that weren't the FBI or police and that we were indeed sent by God to represent the Savior). The young mother told us to wait a moment as she ran inside... this person we were looking for was one of her daughters. Moments later she came back outside with a couple cute little girls. My companion and I kneeled down and cracked a couple jokes and gave them some CTR rings to ease their tension (They were a bit frightened by us). We then asked why her friend has sent us there to pray with them and share our message. With a somber face, the mother and one of her daughters related that she had been experiencing bullying at school recently... and because of this bullying, she had begun to be depressed and had started "cutting" (a practice of self inflicted harm). My companion and I instantly felt the love and compassion of our Heavenly Father and the Savior upon this little family and this little girl. We prayed with this little girl and the family and the Spirit was SO STRONG!!! After the prayer, we were all in tears... and we testified of the healing power of Christ that could be had in their lives through the message of the restored gospel.
We are now going back to teach this family more about our message of Christ and our loving Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us and our families... and how we're never truly alone and that there's always someone there who understands us and can and will and wants to heal us.
I know God sent us there that day at that time to bring that love and healing power... and I know that God and the Savior knows each of us an our needs perfectly. I invite each of you to keep pressing forward with faith and never give up! He is there for you and He needs you to keep going so you can not only make it back to God one day, but so that you can help others too.
I love y'all so much!
-Elder Wahlen
2.15 GB (14%) of 15 GB used

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dear friends and family,

     Elder Wahlen has been transferred and didn't get time to email this week.  He asked that I take parts of my email and parts of my husbands and add his testimony at the end.

Before I do that here is some information:

Release Date January 15th

Homecoming January 18th at 1:00 with dinner after at our house

More information to come on the homecoming - if you know anyone that would want this information that doesn't get his emails, could you please spread the word!  I will post his new address as soon as I get it in case you want to send him a christmas card.

So this is from Elder Wahlen. 

     I am going to a place called Franklin Georgia.  it's going to be SO MUCH FUN.  I'm going to be serving in a newly created "group".  A group is the smallest unit in the church…it's smaller than a branch!  They meet in a member's home.  There's someone called as a "group" leader who leads the meetings.  Church services only last a total of about and hour and a half and there's only about 20 active families that attend.
The key holder is the Bishop of a nearby ward (summer grove).  I am staying in a hotel for a few days and then will live upstairs in a members house.  (I will get ya'll the address as soon as possible). I will be training a new missionary fresh out of the MTC.

     Last sunday I went with Elder Savage to check it out. This was their second meeting ever as the group was formed just two weeks ago.  This is how the meeting went:

-I was asked to sit on the "stand" next to the group leader.  I sat next to him at one end of the kitchen table.
-At the other end of the kitchen table was the Sacrament.  Elder Savage blessed both the bread and water and 1 decon passed it to the group who were sitting on rusted metal chairs and on a couch.
-We were asked to select all the hymns upon our arrival.
-15 people were in attendance
-I gave one of the two talks for the meeting
- Sacrament meeting only lasted 45 minutes
-There was only 1 combined class which lasted for 45 minutes
-Immediately following the conclusion of the meeting, the group held a pot luck lunch.

The town of Franklin only had 1 street light that we came across.  It's a pretty rural area……and it's amazing.!!!!!

It's totally different from where I've served so I can't wait to get started.  It will be a riot training a new missionary. I'm excited to start laying the foundations of the lord's kingdom in Franklin.  What a humbling opportunity.

Here is the testimony he asked me to share:

   "Regardless of if we're meeting as a group of 15 members in a house or if we're meeting in a church of 300+ families…one thing remains the same:  The spirit that attends the blessing, distribution and worthily partaking of the sacrament.  I felt the spirit so strong there with those small families… the same spirit which I felt later in the day at the Pechtree City Ward… and that to me is evidence that this gospel is true.  I invite each of you to pray and ask God 2 specific questions that you have need of answers to…and then write them down.  Take those questions to church and seek for the answers…and I promise you that you will receive those answers.  No matter where you are or who you are with.  I know this is true because it worked for me.

This is going to be a strange time for me.  The beginning of the end.  I'm excited but nervous…I just pray that I can and will finish in the way that the Lord needs me to… so humbling to be sent there to finish.

I love ya'll

Love, Elder Wahlen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hey y'all,

How are things going for y'all today? I hope and pray that things are going well.
I don't have much time today as some things came up here at the last minute... but I just wanted to share a quick thought:
"In the process of life, we are not always the already-tempered and helpful hammer which is shaping and pounding another. Sometimes we are merely the anvil" (George MacDonald)

I just want y'all to know that I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father... and that He is eternally patient with us and our progress through this life and through the eternities. 

Right now we're teaching a very old and very sweet widowed grandmother named Ramona. She is in her 60's and now just having the opportunity to learn of the restored gospel... but despite her old age, she's not too old to hear of this glorious message and take those steps that we all need to take to follow Christ and receive of God's greatest blessings in this life and in the life to come. Do you think that God loves her any less because it's taken her this long to be prepared and to have this opportunity? No way! She's loved just as much.... and she's receiving that same opportunity as anyone else at any other age would have. Ramona came to church for the first time this last week and is progressing towards her baptism on December the 6th.... and she can make it there, just like anyone else can as she keeps moving forward in faith. No matter if she makes it on the 6th or if she makes in another 60 years... it won't matter to God as long as she keeps working towards taking those steps to follow Jesus Christ and one day return to live with Him.

I invite each of you to remember how much God loves you! Regardless of where you're at in life or how fast or slow you feel you're progressing in the gospel. I invite each of you to strive to see others in this way... an eternal way. Let's not judge one another... let us not speak evil or each other, not ourselves... we're all children of God who loves each and every ONE of us. I love y'all too! You're amazing.

Gotta run, have a blessed week!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick miracle story from PTC!

Hey y'all!

I have about 1 minute before I got to run to a teaching appointment... but I wanted to share one of many miracles real fast from this last week....

So Elder Savage and I have been busier than ever... even today we've been running all over the place... but yet again, the Lord provides a miracle and an opportunity to share the Gospel.

Upon returning to the mission office to do some things that are need of doing today we found a man here that was assisting our vehicle coordinator with some logistics of the mission fleet. Super long story short, we started talking with him and we asked him if he was a member of the church. Turns out that he's not... he's Catholic. 
Anyways, this simple question sparked a discussion that ended up turning into a full blown, full length lesson with him about the Restoration of the Gospel and church of Jesus Christ. It was Elder Savage, Elder Parker (Head of the mission fleet) myself and this man, sitting right in the middle of the mission office and having a POWERFUL spiritual experience as we were able to teach and testify of the entire Restoration. By the end, he had committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and the The Family: A Proclamation to the World and we were even able to invite him and his family to be baptized if he came to know these things to be true!
It was amazing... and it's just one small miracle that happened this week! I wish I had more time to share.

I testify that there are SO MANY people out there that need to hear our message and need our testimonies... but we got to open our mouths and trust that the Lord will give us the words! And He will! I promise! He will lead you to the right people and them to you as your willing and you keep opening your mouth and sharing the gospel and your testimony. Even if it's in the smallest, most busiest moments of your day. I invite each of you to keep opening your mouths and sharing the gospel with EVERYONE (Joseph Smith taught that when a man works by faith, he works by words). 

I love you! Have a blessed week!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quick hello from ATL!

Hey y'all,

How's everyone doing today? I hope all is going well! I only have a few seconds left but I just wanted to say hello and let y'all know that I love you tons! We'll be going to the Temple all this next week for zone training meetings so I just want to invite each of you that are able to go and attend the Temple this week. If you're working towards the Temple, then keep working! You're amazing and you'll never regret making the sacrifices needed to make it there someday.

Love you tons,
Elder Wahlen

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween from PTC!

Happy Halloween y'all!

I know it's early but by the next email it will have already passed! 

So I just want to share some miracles with y'all...

The ward here recently had your classic "Chili cook-off" to celebrate the season. All were encouraged to invite their friends, families, neighbors, etc. everyone to come and see who we are and what we're about as members of the church. The event went great! So many people came and so many families... but one amazing miracle that happened was that a young couple showed up all on their own... how did they come to be there? Well, they found one of the printed invitations the church had made for the event on the floor of a Publix store. The crazy thing is that they just moved into the area and have been looking for a church... so they decided to just show up and see how it was! They LOVED it and we were able to meet them and swap information. They're now planning to come to church this next week and we're looking forward to meeting them.

That's not the end of it though... we met an older couple in line at the store while we were there getting lunch... turns out the father found a Book of Mormon on the road one day... and he's been reading it! He even told us that he believes that it could be true... but that he's waiting for a spiritual confirmation. We swapped information with them as well... and the next day they called us to setup a time to meet with us!

It's amazing how the Lord will provide so many miracles in our lives as we do our best and pray for his help. I testify that He is there and that He wants to help us! He wants to help all of us... He will place us exactly where He needs us and exactly when He needs us to be there if we'll just keep doing our best to hear His voice and follow Him.

I invite each of you to continue to pray for opportunities to help others and to be the Lord's hands in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I promise that He will provide as you pray and ask and then do your very best with whatever amount of time or energy that you can provide. This will bring so many miracles into your life and you will help so many people that are need!

Enjoy the tricks and treats and know that I love you!
-Elder Wahlen