Monday, December 29, 2014

Hey everyone,

This is Tracy

Just a reminder that Elder Wahlen will be returning home on January 15th at 1:00 in the afternoon.

His homecoming is Sunday the 18th at 1:00.  Ya'll are invited and we would love to have you over to the house after for lunch.

See ya'll soon!
Happy New Years y'all!
I hope y'all had an amazing Christmas and I hope y'all have an amazing week planned to start the new year of 2015!
I have many things I could share this week... but I feel impressed to share a fairly simple and somewhat comical experience.
Yesterday my companion and I went to track down a member of the group that we haven't seen at church yet. We drove off towards the address we were provided... but as we arrived to the place where our GPS led us to, we quickly realized that we were going to have to do some hunting to find this guy. None of the mail boxes had house numbers on them and there was no way to tell which house was his! So we pulled into a house that was our best guess as where this brother might be living and went up to the door to knock and find out if he was there. No luck. We went back to the car and went to pull out of the houses driveway... but all a sudden, our car came to a complete stop without explanation. My companion and I looked at each other with puzzled faces before jumping out of the car to see what the might be causing our car to be stuck. It turns out that we had driven into a hidden yet very thick and deep mud hole.... and our front tires were now completely submerged and stuck in the thick Georgia mud. We weren't very happy to say the least... especially since we had much to do that day. We tried everything we could to get ourselves unstuck... but all of our attempts only made things worse and got ourselves more stuck. Eventually we had to call a member to come and tow us out with his big truck. But here's the best part... as the member arrived and started to pull our car out of the mud... the good brother we had gone to that area to find drove by and saw this bizarre scene. He decided to turn around and come back to find out what was going on... which led to us being able to meet him, get his phone number and find out which house he lived in.
Now, there's many lessons to be learned here... but what I want to share is this: sometimes we set a goal and we're working hard and doing our best to achieve it... but then all a sudden, we find ourselves unexpectedly and frustratingly "stuck in the mud"'. It seems that we're wasting time... not moving forward and maybe even making things worse the harder we try to accomplish our goal or start moving forward again. But this is what I know... I know that God can and will help us accomplish the goals worthy and righteous goals that we've set. He has a perfect plan for us to follow that will enable us to do so... and I know that sometimes He loves enough to lead us into a seemingly sticky pit of mud to help us accomplish what we're trying to do. Sometimes we need to get that point where we're stuck so we can learn to rely on Him and His help to accomplish what we want to accomplish... in fact, it's when we hit that "stuck" point that we can rest assured that God is about to reveal His plan and power to us to accomplish our goals and receive of the happiness that He wants to grant us. As we remain faithful, as we keep working hard and doing our part, as we remain patient on the Lord and His timing... and as we reach out and ask for His help... I know that the God will always come through for us in the end and that things will work out. They always work out.
I invite each of you to keep this in mind as you set your goals this year and keep working on the goals from this last year that you may feel like you're "stuck" on. You can do it! God is with you and will be with you as you keep going. 
I know that God lives and that He loves us. I know He sent Christ to help us get "unstuck" if we've got ourselves stuck by disobeying His commandments and I know that everything will be ok according to His plan!
Love you tons,
Elder Wahlen

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

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

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