Monday, October 20, 2014

Hello, Hello from another transfer week here in PTC!

Hey everyone,

I'll probably keep things short today... it's been a crazy busy week and a crazy busy day! Just a small snippet from today's schedule... started off with transfer calls at7:00am. I was on the phone non-stop until 11:-00am calling missionaries and informing them of their new transfer assignments and helping resolve any concerns, questions, etc. that anyone had. Right at 11:00am we jumped into an office correlation meeting with the entire office staff of the mission to prepare for this weeks transfers. Since then, I've been trouble shooting and figuring out different logistical obstacles to this transfer that will involve well over 100 missionaries. Pretty crazy... but so much fun! So much more to be done too!

I just wanted to share something this week... this work really is so simple. We're here to help everyone return to live with God again together as a family in Heaven. That's the end of everything in this life... there's nothing more grand or great to look towards. And to think... all the hundreds of cars out here... all the hundreds of suits, shirts, ties, shoes... all the thousands of hours studying the scriptures.... all the thousands upon thousands of dollars spent to keep the missionaries fed... all that we do out here for the Mission and for Missionaries... is all to the end that we go and find some people and open our mouths and talk to them about that end destination and how to get there. To simply hold a conversation! Isn't that amazing? There's so much power, time, energy.... so many sacrifices and so on and so forth... all to the end of having a simple, genuine and loving conversation about Gods plan for us and the promised blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.... but we do it because of the people! They're our brothers and sisters! They're our family! We all want to be together forever, don't we? I want to simply testify of this work... and why we do it! We do it because we're family. We're family with God and we're family with each other.... and we're meant to be together in happiness and joy FOREVER. It's only because of our loving BROTHER Jesus Christ who lived and died for us so we can be together forever. I know this is why the church is here... for families... ETERNAL families! I know that's why we need to talk to everyone and share OUR gospel... our families gospel... this is all of our's plan and all our's work... and I know we can do this together with the help of our loving Heavenly Father. 

I invite each of you to pray for the vision that our Father in Heaven has for each of us individually and together as one big family... pray to see others as He does... pray for chances to help our brothers and sisters... and I promise that you will receive answers to those prayers.... and opportunities!

I love each of you so much. Have a great week family!
-Elder Wahlen

Things that Elder Wahlen didn't share:  He is staying on as an assistant to train the new assistant.  His companion 
Elder Webster is going to be a traveling assistant.  He is sad to see Elder Webster go but excited to train the new assistant Elder Savage, who if you have been following this blog you will recognize as his companion from his stay in Atlanta.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hey y'all,
How's your day? How are you doing? I hope and pray that all is well!

As you can see from my subject line, I want to invite every last one of you to go see "Meet the Mormons". It's amazing! Be sure to bring something to dap the tears away... but more importantly, be sure to bring a friend or family member with you! It's a great opportunity to help others see who we are and what we're about! You'll love it... if you don't, email me and I'll refund your ticket. Will you do that? I promise that you'll feel the spirit as you watch it and it will increase your faith!

Things are going well here in Atlanta! This last week we had zone training meetings nearly all week... which also meant the Temple nearly every day all week! It was a blast... I love no other place more than the Temple. There's no place like it. I'm so grateful that we have Temples and I'm especially grateful that I've had the opportunity to attend the Temple so often as a missionary. What a unique blessing and gift. I invite y'all to go to the Temple as much as possible... and if you're not there yet, that's ok! Keep working towards it! Set it as a goal and never lose sight of it! Everyone is welcomed there as we all prepare ourselves adequately. I promise as you do so and as you enter into the Temple (whenever that time will be) that you will not regret it! You feel the Spirit so strongly and it will be an experience that will build you up and draw you closer to the Savior and to our loving Heavenly Father.

Speaking of Temples, we're teaching a part-member family now that wants to be sealed in the Temple! I'll give you the short version of their story.
One day my companion and I found some time to go out and work our area (this has been a VERY rare occasion). We went out and tried finding some people to teach! Unfortunately we didn't have much luck in doing so. Slammed doors, rejecting waves of "get off my front-porch" and lots of doors with simply nothing behind them. We started to feel a bit discouraged as the day started to wind to a close and we had yet to see much good come from our efforts... however, we decided that keep our faith, vision and attitude high (why not?) and keep working hard and trust the Lord that He would provide a miracle for us. We eventually prayed over a list of names of members in the ward that we had been assigned to go and see... and as we did so, we felt prompted to go see a specific family. We went to the home and we were welcomed with smiles and warmth. They invited us in and we sat and talked. We soon found out that the father has been inactive for years, the mother is a non-member and all of their children are non-members. We also found out that the grandmother was a member and living with them in their home. Sadly, this strong but time worn women was coming to an end to her days here on the Earth and was expected to pass away at any moment. It was very hard for this special family but they knew it was time. We taught and testified of eternal families and said a simple prayer with them before departing. They invited us to come back sometime soon as we left. Fast forward 2 days later and my companion and I are sitting at the church when we find out that this grandmother had indeed passed away in those short couple days. We reached out to their family and expressed our love to them as well as other members of the ward. Several days later, after we had been thinking and praying much for this family and for their recent loss, we receive a text message from a member of the ward. In the message, she tells us of her recent conversations with this family. It turns out that following the death of the grandmother, the family began to discuss the gospel and the church... and the importance of eternal families. It eventually led to them deciding that they want to be together for time and eternity... and they wanted to learn how they could do that. They had reached out to this member and asked her if they could sit down with her sometime and discuss "being sealed together as a family".
Since being informed by the member of this families desire to be sealed together for forever, we've been able to go back and meet with them again and share more of our message of eternal families through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.... and miracles have been happening! This family is so open and so loving and have such a desire to be together forever. We're now working closely with members of the ward to teach them and prepare them to take the steps that will lead them to the Temple and to being sealed together for time and eternity.
It's been humbling to be a part of this family's journey thus far and it's been humbling to be a witness for Jesus Christ and His promises to all that come and follow Him.
I know that God led us to them at exactly the right moment when He needed us to be there. I know that He knows all of our needs and I know that He will send us help when we need it. I know that God answers prayers and that others are often times answers to those prayers. I also know that God needs more willing hearts to humbly ask Him "What do you need me to do today? Who do you need me to help?". I know that God will show you where to go, who to see and what to do as we seek Him out in honest and pure prayer with real intent. I know that when hard times comes, that's it's so important to keep going and to never give up... because your miracle is just on the horizon.
I invite each of you to seek God out in prayer and ask Him to help you have a more willing heart to serve others. I invite each of you to trust Him and have faith that He will lead and guide you to those that are in need. I invite each of you to keep going! To keep putting faith and trust in the Lord no matter how hard it gets! Better days and many miracles are ahead! I promise that as you do so that you will be made an instrument in His hands and bring so much joy, even eternal joy to many of His children and our eternal brothers and sisters. As you do so, you will find more joy and happiness in your life than ever before!
I love you tons! Have a blessed week.
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hello from the ever cooling air in GA

Hey y'all,

How's everyone? I'm going to try and be fast and furious.
First of all, I testify that this church is true! Christ is the head of this church and He has a living prophet here on the Earth today who leads and guides it! Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet here on the Earth!
I LOVED General Conference. It was amazing! Big themes for me? Personal revelation, Prophets, the sacrament and agency.

Quick experience:
After the conclusion of General Conference, my companion and I had a decision to make about whether to go into the office to work on reports, etc. or to go out and try and teach people. We decided the most important thing was the people and so we prayed specifically to find someone that was being prepared or who was prepared.... not just someone though, a family! After we prayed we felt we should go try and see some of the people in the ward that we had been given to work with. My companion felt inspired that we should go see a specific family a few minutes down the road. We went there and prayed before going to the door and knocked. Long story made short (as these almost always are) the family came to the door and invited us in. The family turned out to be a part-member family (father is non-member) but their daughter is preparing to serve a mission. 

As we talked, we realized that this daughter was someone we knew from when we served in the YSA ward. Turns out this daughter is 22 years old and has a very similar story to mine. The mother of the family was telling us how badly she wanted her daughter to have a great mission and to "find herself" as she served the Lord... my companion and I shared our stories and testified to her of the blessings of serving a mission... both the ones that will come to her daughter and her family. The mother began to cry and the spirit was so strong! She thanked us for coming over and told us that we were an answer to her prayers. Later she talked to us at the door and told us of her desires for her husband to be changed fro her daughters service... we again felt prompted to testify of the blessings of a child serving a mission and sharing the gospel. It was powerful!!! We're now going back to meet with the family again and we've even established a good relationship with the father (who apparently isn't a big fan of missionaries typically).

Isn't God amazing!!??? God led us right to where we needed to go. Right to who He needed us to see. This is just a small experience we had with many others that happened this week! But what I've learned is that God loves all of His children and wants to help them all.. but He needs us to be His hands! He needs us to be like the Prophet Thomas S. Monson and seek out those who are in need and to follow the Spirit in doing so. I testify that as we are willing to act in faith, live a worthy life and humbly seek His guidance and help in prayer that He will lead us to his children that are in need! There is no greater joy than being an instrument of God and serving His children. We are all imperfect but He will allow us to experience His work if we so desire and as we act upon the Spirit. I invite each of you to review the things that you learned from General Conference and then to prayerfully apply them in your life. I promise you as you do so and as you seek the Lord more and more in your daily life through prayer and a righteous life, that you will see many more miracles in serving others and in turn, you will see many more miracles in your life. 

I love y'all so much! Prayer works! This church is true!
-Elder Wahlen

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

a quick hello!

Hello everyone!

How's everyone doing?!?!? I'm so sorry that I haven't been writing much lately... I'm the worst! Forgive me?
Things have been going great... lots of things happening, lots of things changing! We're so excited for General Conference weekend! It's like Christmas for missionaries! 

Couple quick things this week....
My companion and I are tasked with working an area full-time in addition to our other responsibilities.... and one day this last week we went out and worked for nearly a full day (which has been very rare!). We were excited and went and worked hard! However, for most of the day we saw NO results. NOTHING! It was one of the more frustrating days I've had in a long time! But I felt like there was something good to come from our efforts... we just had to keep working hard and having faith that the Lord would provide. Later on in the night, we decided to go follow-up with a family I taught a bit my first time here in PTC... I was very excited at the possibility of seeing them again... but when we arrived, nothing! Typical for the day it seemed... but we didn't give up! We decided to pray and ask God to help us... in the prayer, we submitted that we had done nearly everything we could've done and we needed His help. We needed a miracle! We walked down the street and felt prompted to knock on a door... we went over and knocked. At this door was one of the most open and prepared young women I've ever met! I've never had anyone listen so intently to our message on the doorstep then her. She accepted every invitation and we're seeing her again this week! She's amazing and I know the Lord led us to her after we had worked hard and kept a positive attitude despite the rough day.

I know that some days seem hard and like nothing is happening... but I know as we continue to have faith and work hard and rely on the Lord.... and as we ask for His help (humbly so) He will provide a way. I invite each of you to always remember this in everything that you do! Especially in sharing the gospel and living the life of a disciple. You never know what your efforts and faith are doing for those around you! (See the newest mormon message if you haven't and you'll see what I mean).

Out of time! Please prayerfully prepare for this weekend and prepare 2 questions you need answered from the Lord! You will find them as you listen intently and prepare to receive them from the Lords appointed and authorized servants. I love you all!

One last thing for someone close to my mind and heart....

Rebecca, Te amo mucho! Estoy muy animado por usted a assistir la conferencia. Yo se que Thomas S. Monson es un profeta de Dios. Yo se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días está la iglesia verdadera.  Yo se que usted va a recibir un contestar a sus preguntas. Escucha a las enseñanzas del Espíritu Santo.  Hay muchos bendiciones para usted. 

-Elder Wahlen 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hello from the starting to change PTC!

Hello, hello! 
How are y'all doing today? Today is such a beautiful day here in PTC... this morning we noticed that the leaves on the tree's are starting to change ever so slightly. It's getting to be that time of year again! One of my favorite times of the year.... especially here in Georgia. Luckily, we still have tree's with leaves on them! We had a HUGE storm the other day and it blew down some tree's.... and literally broke a tree in half just outside the mission office. It feel perfectly around the office Elders car, missing it on ALL sides by inches... so it that was a sight to see when we arrived back one night from trainings. It's true, the Lord protects His missionaries... and even their cars :)
We've had a wonderful opportunity this last week to sit down with and train nearly every companionship on the entire mission. It's been a wonderful experience... and I've learned SO MUCH from the opportunity. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was feeling the Spirit work through me so uniquely and differently depending on who we met with. The training meetings with each companionship only lasted about 15 minutes at the most and we had no breaks between trainings... but it was incredible how different each one would be. The Spirit will pull things out of you to fill the needs Gods' children and servants that are placed around you... but only if we're worthy, willing and we do our best to listen to the Spirit and act on the promptings we feel.
I could talk about a million different things that I learned... but the one predominant lesson I've learned that's pressed on my mind most of this week is the importance of obedience... EXACT obedience. 
There's a story in the Bible of a group of people who are walking through the wilderness while carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The people are commanded to not touch the Ark under ANY circumstances or else they will be struck dead by the Lord. The story goes on and eventually comes to a point in which the people are walking across some rocky and rough terrain... as they do so, the men who had been assigned to carry the Ark (Think of Indiana Jones) begin to tilt and sway the Ark, and it appears as if it's about to fall to the ground. As this is happening, a man nearby notices and with good intent, reaches forth his hand to steady the Ark so that it doesn't fall... his hand touches that Ark and instantly the Lord strikes him dead.
Why did this happen? The man had a good intent and pure heart... he only wanted to make sure the Ark was steady and didn't fall to the ground... why did the Lord strike him dead?
It's because he wasn't exactly obedient. The Lord clearly commanded the people to NEVER touch the Ark... not under any circumstance... even if the intent was a good one.
So how does this apply to my experiences? Well, it became clear to me that the missionaries who had the most joy, the most happiness and the most light in their eyes and in their countenances were the ones who were being EXACTLY obedient to ALL of the things they had been asked to do. As a part of the trainings, we reviewed some of the basic missionary tools we're asked to use to assist us in our work... an example of this would be the daily planners we use to plan our days and weeks (track appointments, etc.) and a book called the "area book" (the area book is used to record the teaching of investigators of the church, etc.). As my companion and I continued our trainings and reviews of these tools, it came to a point where we would know whether or not the missionaries were using these tools and doing the other things they had been asked to do as soon as they walked through the door. Those who walked in and were using them were happy and upbeat and full of the Spirit... those you didn't do these things were always sad, gloomy and not so full of the Spirit. Even little things made big differences in the attitudes and behaviors of each of the missionaries.
Life is very much this same way... we're promised to be kept safe from ALL things and to be happy through ALL times as we're obedient to the gospel. I don't have much more time to expound upon these things or share more details of the experiences we had... but I want to testify that obedience is the first law of Heaven. Obedience is the great test of life... and that obedience is ALWAYS doing the right thing and then letting the consequences follow.
Luckily for us all, the Gospel doesn't have winners and losers.... it only has winners and quitters. As long as we never quit on trying to do the right things and we never stop trying to be exactly obedient... we are promised to be victorious in the end. This is only possible because Christ was victorious over all things... and conquered all things for us. Because of His perfect life and perfect sacrifice for ALL of us... we can all make changes and stop doing things that are wrong and start doing (and keep doing) things that are right. That's how we grow and progress and eventually receive all thins from God... and it's because of the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith that we can now enjoy the full blessings of this promise.
I invite you all to never give up! To always look for the ways in which you can be exactly obedient to all the things the Lord has asked us to do... and as you make those changes to start doing those right things that are needed to be made, I promise you will enjoy more and more light and happiness in your life... and eventually eternal life. Just never, ever give up! The Lord is patient and loves you! He just wants you to be the happiest you can be, and that will come as you do what He asks us all to do.... which is to follow Him.
I love y'all so much! Have a blessed week,
Elder Wahlen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Pictures

A Quick hello!

Hello everyone!

I only have a few minutes this week (so sorry!) but I just wanted to say hello and that I love you! One of these days I'll be sharing some experiences more in depth...
I just want each of you to know how amazing of a place the temple is... it's incredible! I was able to go there almost every day this last week as part of zone training meetings... and wow! I wish I could go there every day of my life... there's no place on Earth closer to the Heavens than the temple. This last week has been crazy... we picked up 4 new Elders on short notice from the airport and loaded all their things in the middle of a rain storm... it was intense and a good memory. More to that story later...
Also started teaching a young women at Papa John's... we went there to pick up Pizza for lunch for the training meetings... but most importantly we were sent there to find this wonderful young women and share the gospel with her. It's so great.. there's always people out there... no matter where you are that are in need of the gospel... we just have to keep looking for them and find them!

Last thing... shout out to my best friend Michael Bradshaw!!! Someone let him know that I got his announcement and that I'm SO EXCITED!!! I'm going to try and write you Mike... sorry I've been so slow! Busy busy. I'm so happy for you!!!! 

Love y'all so much!
-Elder Wahlen