Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello from the sticky-icky of Conyers

Hey y'all,

How are you today? Today is the first real day of the heat AND humidty here in Conyers for this year... and I'm excited :) It's an experience to be here in Georgia for the summer... can't wait for another one! Miracles are happening everywhere... and God is certainly "here and there" :)

What to share this week? I had one of the most incredible experiences of my service thus far this last Sunday.... Elder Zwick (who many of you may remember from his talk at general conference) and Elder Giddens of the 70 came and provided some leadership training for us... and it was amazing. I sat literally 2 feet away from Elder Zwick as he taught us... and I felt like he was sent there just for me. So many answers to so many prayers... it was incredible. I wish I could share the experience with each of you and how I felt in that meeting... but in the end, I'll say and ask each of you this... where is your heart? I've learned so much about the importance of ones' heart lately... and what I've come to find out is that true happiness and joy comes from COMPLETELY turning our hearts over to the Lord. Every doubt, fear, pain, etc... but also every dream, desire and good thing... as we completely align ourselves with the Lord, our hearts will become purified and sanctified and we will feel a new light in our lives. Others will see it and feel it... they'll see it in your eyes and in your actions... and they'll feel it as you reach out and love them as the Savior would. That love that you can give comes as you allow your will to become His will. There is no greater joy than this. The more willing and quickly we're able to change ourselves to align with His example... the stronger and more pure the spirit will reside with us. I'd invite each of you to kneel in prayer each night and ask the Lord "Will thou accept my best from this day? And how can improve tomorrow to better serve thee with all my heart?". As you do so, and as you commit yourself to change and to act upon those prayers... I promise that you will be filled with a new light and love that you've never felt before.

One quick experience.... a few months ago, I talked to a lady at a family dollar store as we were checking out. I simply talked with her and taught her a little about the restored gospel and then invited her to learn more. She agreed, I collected her information and later on I sent it to the missionaries serving in the area where she lived. Fast forward to Sunday at the leadership training and I'm approached by a Sister asking me if I remembered talking to a women at a family dollar store months ago... it turns out that this women accpeted the invitation to meet with the Sisters... she accpeted to be taught more about the restored gospel... and now she has accpeted to be baptized and follow the example of our Savior. She will be baptized this Saturday. I know that as we continue to reach out... and just find the one... the one who is in need... no matter where we are or what we're doing... as long as we just find the one... that's really what matters. 

There are many "ones" out there to be found that are in need... and I know the Lord has placed you where you are to help Him find them and INVITE them to come unto Him through the restored Gospel. I know that He loves you and ALL of His children... I so testify of His love... and that He lives... in His name, Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Wahlen

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello from rainy Conyers!

Howdy y'all,

How are you doing today? It always seem to be stormy after conference... I'm pretty convinced that no matter where I go in the world, if conference is ending then it's going to storm! It's raining and there's been a few flashes of thunder and lightning (which I always enjoy) but it's a beautiful day. Hopefully y'all enjoyed conference as much (if not more) than I did!

So what to talk about? It's always so funny... I always have so many things to say and experiences to share but in the end, my mind goes blank and I'm forced to just start typing... hoping that whatever comes out makes some sort of sense.

I just want to testify of the importance of being a friend. There are many experiences in my life that could testify to this... but one that I want to share very briefly is of the experience one of our investigators had when they came to church. Rewind things back to about two weeks ago... and my companion and I are just walking into to teach an appointment when we half casually and perhaps even jokingly call out to a women who is just getting into her car "Hey, how are you? Do you go to church? You should come to ours! It's literally just down the street... Sunday at 9:00 am! Will you come with us this Sunday??" She politely declined, but we invited her again with some more smiles and waves and laughs... she finally responded with a half-hearted "ok, one day I'll come". Fast forward one week and lo and behold... the women walks into sacrament meeting and sits down by herself in the row in front of us. Completely shocked, my companion and don't even realize who she is for several minutes... but once we do... well, lets just say we smiled for some time :)

 Long story short though... this lady was swarmed by some of the members of the ward... and they welcomed her in as a good friend. She loved the experience so much that the next time we met with her she told us that this is the church she wanted her and her family to join. 

Now, keep in mind... this was without any knowledge of the Book of Mormon, the restoration, etc... she simply felt the love and friendship of those saints who reached out to her at church and that was enough to her. What a powerful and great opportunity we have to be friends to others... to be the Lords hands... to help others feel of His love. I promise that as each of you reach out in friendship and love towards others... and INVITE them to come and experience the joy that we have and know... I promise that not only their lives will change for the best, but so shall yours. I testify that the Savior lives and this is His work. I love you! 

Will each of you pray to find someone who needs a friend this week?

-Elder Wahlen

Monday, March 31, 2014

Howdy y'all,

Sorry this week will be short..... but it's General Conference this week! In case you don't know, this is pretty much Christmas time for us missionaries... the prophet and the 12 apostles are going to be speaking! Wow! What an incredible opportunity...

I just want to testify that I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God... he holds the priesthood keys here on the Earth and He is the authorized servant of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ to speak for them... to lead and guide the true church of Christ here on the Earth. I know that as you each prayerfully prepare for this weekend... and go into each session with a question in mind that you are seeking an answer to... that you will recieve an answer. Will each of you do that? Come up with a question, pray, watch and listen... and see what happens! I love y'all tons... so many great things have happened this last week and I wish I had more time to share some experiences with you! I will say this much... (and maybe a few more things!).... that as we focus on doing those things that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father, that all else will work itself out. Also, I'd like to invite each of you to find at leat 5 people to invite to do the same thing that I've invited you to do... but do it in a way in which they can then, ask them to find 4 people to invite... and then those 4 can invite 3... and then they can invite 2..... and then they can invite 1. Elder Bednard taught that all we need to do is find the one, who will find the one, who will find the one... and that is how the Kingdom of God will be built. This would also be great to apply to any invitation extended to come unto Christ.

Anyways... I love y'all so much! I testify that the Savior lives and that He loves you. Have a great day and conference weekend!

-Elder Wahlen

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hello y'all,

Hello and y'all... interesting combination, eh? Kinda like howdy everyone... 
How's everyone doing today? I'd love to hear back about any miracles that happened as a result of your faith and acting upon last weeks invitation!!! I'd like to share a miracle that I experienced as I prayed and seeked for an opportunity to be the Lords hands...
Speaking of interesting combinations, the Lord works in mysterious ways... doesn't He? Ok, well that's not entirely true... His ways are pure and bold and really not so mysterious... yet I feel like sometimes I see them as mysterious as I can't comprehend all of His plans and ways... but as we know, His ways and thoughts are higher than our own...

But now to the miracle...
My companion and I went to teach some of the families that we're working with from Micronesia... and a little back story about them, they're ALWAYS home. They've never missed an appointment... but anyways, we go to see them and guess what? They aren't home! We end up teaching a less-active family member of theirs that lives in the backyard out on the front porch... but while we are teaching, the next door neighbor of this family is running in and out of the house on the phone... and let me say this much, the conversation (or at least the side of it that we heard) was not one of good report nor language. Despite the could be distraction of this, we kept on teaching and preaching... long story short (if you haven't noticed, I like making long stories short) we close the lesson and begin to leave... as we drive away, I turn and see this neighbor out in the driveway of her home taking bags out of her car... as I see her doing so, I have a prompting that we should go back and ask her if she needs help... I brush the feeling aside as we were with a member of the Bishopric and I didn't want to be an annoyance... but the feeling wouldn't leave me... so just before we turn onto the main road to leave, I ask if we can go back and talk with her for a moment.... and so we do. Turns out that this women is being kicked out by her seemingly intoxicated uncle and needs to be driven to her nearby Sisters home until her husband is picked up. Initially she didn't want to have anything to do with us, but we stated that we represented the Savior and just wanted to help and as we stood there for a few moments, she finally agreed. We ended up taking her to her sisters place with all of her stuff after saying a short prayer with her to help her calm down. She thanked us and told us that "y'all were sent from God".

To close, I know that the Savior lives and that God will work miracles through us as we continue to ask for the opportunity... and the blessing to do so. The spirit will guide you to those who are in need. I gotta run but I know that God loves you and I'd invite you to continue to pray and ask for these opportunities and for the faith to act upon those promptings that will lead you to those that are in need... share the miracles too! Love y'all

-Elder Wahlen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Elder Wahlen with his companion Elder Webster

Howdy from the now rainy Conyers!

Howdy y'all,

I know that the Savior lives. I testify that He loves each and every one of you and that our Heavenly Father is aware of you and your needs. They are so much closer than we realize... they are involved in every aspect of our lives... and they love YOU so much.
So this is something I learned this week.... we can know of the Savior... we can even know who the Savior is and what He did for us... but it's an entirely different thing to know the Savior. To know the Savior, we must follow Him... do as He does... and be as He is. The road to truly know the Savior is not one oft traveled... but it's the one that will bring forth the most joy and true happiness in our lives. It's the one and only way that will lead us to the waters of everlasting life... and eternal glory with our families... and there is no greater joy than coming to know the Savior through following Him.

Can y'all do me a favor? Will each of you strive to have more experiences and encounters with the Holy Ghost this week? And not just moments of feeling the spirit... but moments of action that lead you to follow those promptings you shall recieve. I'd invite each of you to do this by kneeling and praying each day for the opportunity to serve someone as the Savior would... to be His hands... to do as He would do... and then I would invite each of you to act upon those promptings. See what happens. Learn by faith. Experiment upon the word... even if you just have 1 opportunity this week to do so... that 1 experience will change your entire week for the best... I can promise you that :) And who knows... you may very well change someones life for the best for all of time and eternity.

Alright, now to the experiences that y'all came to read :) Although I do pray that you would consider the invitiation extended above that you may have experiences of your own.
My companion and I went to teach a wonderful lady that we had met while out knocking doors... we had a youth from the ward all lined up to meet us at the appointment to teach with us and we were very excited for the opportunity... however, as it sadly often goes in missionary work, the women wasn't home. We quickly jumped back into the car and started looking up the address to our back-up plan when we recieved a phone call from a phone number we didn't recognize. We answered the phone "LDS missionaries, this is Elder Wahlen and Elder Webster"... on the other end of the line was a member of the church who lived in another ward not too far from where we are currently serving. She informed us that her dear friend and co-worker had been in a car accident a few days prior and was seeking a priesthood blessing. She informed us that she was not a member of the church but had recieved priesthood blessings before. We quickly agreed to offer her such a blessing... and she proceeded to list off the contact information for this women and her address. My companion and I begin to scoff as we quickly realize that we are literally about a football throw away from this womens home. We literally were on the same street at that very moment. We informed this wonderful sister that we were so close to her dear friend and she excitedly offered to call her friend to let her know we'd be there shortly....
We hand up the phone, do a quick flip around in the car and drive a few houses down to the address we had been given. We quickly go up to the door after a prayer and knock.... a sweet southern women answers the door and invites us in with a smile. We come in and sit down with our youth member team-up following closely behind. We begin talking with the women and asking her about her car accident and how she's feeling, etc... but quickly the conversation turns to the church and her member friends and co-workers. Turns out that this women had not only recieved priesthood blessings in the past, but her friends and co-workers (a group of about 5 members including her boss) had slowly but surely been sharing the gospel with her and inviting her to church. She had been to church several times with these friends and to top it off, she had even gone on a tour of the Atlanta temple when they had an open house. She relayed her experience in going through the temple house and remarked "I've never felt the spirit so strongly in my life than when I was at that temple. It was beautiful. So peaceful"... we talked a bit more and asked a few simple questions and then the tears started to flow as the spirit touched her heart once again. She opened up to us about her life and how she felt about the church and those wonderful members she had been so blessed to be associated with... we quickly testified of the message of the restoration of the gospel and invited her to act upon those feelings that she had been feeling for some time now... and she accepted to act. To follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the restored priesthood of God. What a miracle it was... she knew it was true all along... God had been preparing this women for years and years for this moment... for the opportunity to act upon her feelings. To act upon what she knew to be true between her and God... it was incredible. Not only for how we came to find her but for all the amazing work that God had been able to do through those friends and co-workers of hers that were willing to act... and willing to invite someone to come unto the Savior and come to know of the truth we hold.
To close, I would again like to invite each of you to not only seek out the spirit more in your every day lives... but to seek out more opporunities to act upon promptings given to you from God to invite someone to come unto the Savior. I love each of you! Have a blessed day!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello from the sunny side of Conyers!

Howdy y'all,

How are you today? Did you know that God knows who you are perfectly? And you know what's even more amazing...? God knows exactly who we can and will become. He knows of our divine potential and He knows how to best help us reach that potential... and He is always there to help us do better... each and every day! What a miracle... what a blessing we have to have a loving Heavenly Father who watches over us and cares for us. Wow.

So... what to write about today? We had zone training, the temple, a special Elder Cook fireside (yes, I was able to shake his hand!) and then a special stake conference with the mighty Elder Parker.... not to include all the amazing miracles between those! So much to talk about... I would love to talk about the amazing things I learned from those meetings, but I know many of you love to hear stories about those we meet and teach so I'll refrain from laying down some doctrine and preaching for now :) But they truly were amazing and life changing experiences in their own right...

So the day after zone training, my amazing companion and I were SO EXCITED to get out and do the work. Not that we normally aren't... but we certainly were on "spiritual fire" yuo could say as we concluded our morning studies. We literally ran out the door to the car at 10:05 am (studies end at 10:00am) and we quickly started our chariot up and began to back up when we notice a massive oil leak coming from our car.... we were so upset! After checking everything we could to see if we could somehow fix it with our elementary understanding of cars, we slumped back into the apartment to call the fleet coordinator here in the mission to ask what we should. 

Feeling very defeated and deflated, we awaited for him to call us back after leaving a message explaining the situation. We made some phone calls and reviewed some lesson plans for a few minutes, still feeling very down about the pickle of a situation we faced... unitl we decided, hey! This is the Lords work! There must be a reason for this happening... no way the Lord would allow such a thing to occur at this time unless there was a reason! Right???? After assuring ourselves this was the case (in a somewhat joking manner) we recieved a call back from the fleet coordinator and we were instructed to go straight way and seek repairs. So straightway we departed from our humble abode and we rode our oil bleeding car to the repair shop. Determined that we were there for a reason, we went into the waiting room and starting talking with everyone. Quickly it was apparent that none of those who were there were very interseted in our message and soon they all left.... and there we were... all by ourselves in a room full of chairs and a vending machine (the free snacks were cool... I guess?). Now, considering the time I have left, I will cut the story down some... but come to find out some time later, the issue with the car was simply a small o-ring on the oil filter had worn away and was allowing the oil to leak from the car... it turned out to be a simple 5 dollar repair... but just before leaving, and still determined that we were there for a reason... I decided to try one last ditch effort to find the on that we were there to find....  so I offered a pass-along card to the women who had been helping us through the payment process. As I offered her the card, she not only accepted the card, but said with a smile on her face "Oh, you just happned to know that I needed this right now, didn't you?"... we asked her why she would say such a thing... and come to find out, her brother had recently been shot and killed along with many other hardships in her life... and that morning she had prayed to help her overcome her feelings of hate not only to God but towards all people... and as she did so, she felt a peace come over her... and then that very day, we showed up.

Point of this story? God is in control. As we keep our faith, and as we act in faith... He will lead us to where we need to go. I love you! Pray and seek him out!
Elder Wahlen