Monday, June 30, 2014

hello from the office of GAM

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

Love y'all!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, June 23, 2014

more pictures

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hello again from peachtree city

Good day to y'all,

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

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Elder Wahlen forgot to mention

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Tracy Wahlen

Hello and goodbye from conners

Hello everyone!

Well... today is another hello but sadly it's a time to say goodbye! It turns out that I'll be leaving the Conyers area today... the spirit has called me away to another land and to more wonderful children of God... I'm excited for the miracles and experiences to come!

I want to share an experience with y'all today that I've learned much from...
So my Mom is the best in the whole wide world... and I'll defend that truth to the day I die! Haha. (every Mom is the best though! I love y'all so much!). So she loves to send me packages... and she loves to help me or other missionaries get whatever they need to continue to serve the Lord. Most of the times, that includes sending protein bars, shoes, suits (Thanks Sister Fox!) and other various things... and sometimes I place a special and specific order in for something that I need. 

Well, weeks ago, I asked my Mom if she could send me some DVD's with some of the Mormon messages and Bible vidoes (check them out on on them so that I could use them in lessons with members, investigators, less-actives, recent-converts, etc... well, I was only expecting maybe one or two DVD's with manybe a few of the videos on there... but my Mom, being the best Mom ever... she went all out and got ALL of them on DVD's to send out to me. Now... I would like to point out that there is about a couple hundred total vidoes of ALL of the Bible and Mormon messages when compiled together... so that in of itself is a large task... but I would also like to point out that my Mom isn't the most computer savy person in the world! But she didn't let that stop her... she went forth with faith, hard-work and patience... and as she did so, she learned to rely on the Lord through prayer and works on how to create these DVD's. It took her a LONG time and MANY failed attempts before she finally compiled all the vidoes on DVD's. Excited to send them to me and confident that they would work, she packaged them up and sent them out to me with a letter telling the story/experience she had while creating these DVD's. 

I got the package with these DVD's in them not too long ago... and I opened them with much excitment and anticipation. I dropped one of the DVD's into our player at the apartment ready to watch the first video... when all a sudden, the DVD player came up with an error message "unable to read disc". Slightly discouraged but determined that it must be just the one DVD, I dropped in the next to see if it would work... "unable to read disc". It turns out that NONE of the DVD's she had made seemed to work... I was a bit frustrated since I was so excited to use them in teaching appointments... but then I read the letter my Mom sent which described how much she learned from the experience of making these DVD's... and then she said at the end of the letter to the extent of... "I don't care if you ever use them or if they work, but know that I made them with love and that I learned much from the experience and came closer to the Savior in doing so. I love you!". My frustration quickly left me as I was touched by the love of my Mom... the next Monday I emailed her back and said "Thanks for the DVD's, they're perfect :)"

. Good story eh? Well this isn't all... the Sunday after all this had happened, I went up and bore my testimony during fast and testimony meeting and used this experience as my testimony that regardless of the outcome of what we do... the most important thing is that we did it out of love for others and the Savior. The true meassure of success in Gods' eyes isn't what the outcome or result is... He just cares and loves us for doing what He asks us to do with our very best effort. As we do so... we learn and grow and come closer to Him. The most amazing thing happened because of this though... after I shared the experience through my testimony and after the meeting had concluded, I was approached by a member of the church who informed me that she would be able to take the DVD's and "take care of it". A few days later, she returned the original DVD's to me along with a new DVD that had ALL of the videos on them in working order.

So why did I want to share this experience? Well... first is for the things that it taught me before the DVD's had been fixed. It's not about the outcome or result as we serve the Lord... what matters is that we served with love and we gave our very best. As we do so, that's when we're blessed and receive the praise, smile and blessings of God.

 The other lessons to be learned? God has a perfect plan... and because of the Atonement, that plan will ALWAYS come to pass despite our short-comings. Because of the Atonement, we will all receive eternal life as we choose to obey God and follow His Son, Jesus Christ... in a sense, all of our DVD's will be "taken care of" by Christ. He will re-write them, edit them, re-format them and do whatever He needs to do in order for us to receive Gods' greatest gifts. For this I am eternally grateful for... along with a mother who is the most Christ-like women I've ever met... and I'm so thankful for a Father in Heaven whose plan is good and will always work out as we do our part. I testify of the Savior and the power of the Atonement and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Amen.
Love y'all!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hello once again from the Conyers land of promise!


Hey everyone! Short email today.
So I learned some interesting things this week about horse racing...
Bishop Kimble of the Conyers ward came out with us on a team-up the night that the horse "California Chrome" was going for the famed "Triple crown". Bishop was more than happy to let us know about what was happening and fill us in on all the details... because my companion and I had NO CLUE what he was talking about haha... but he had some interesting things to teach us.
(this is the super short version so I'm sorry I won't have much time to explain or expound!)
In horse racing... the horses sprint around a track that is about a mile in length and whoever crosses the line at the end first, wins. Pretty simple, eh? Not so much. These horses are bred and trained for a life-time before they race... and once they race in the events once... that's it! They're too old after that and no longer race. They literally have a once in a llife-time opportunity to race and put everything out there. That's amazing in of itself... but what's also amazing is that during the race, the electronically track how many steps (or paces) the horses are taking... and with that information they can determine which horses won't win the race by about the half or 2/3 mark. How do they know this? Because those horses who start TOO FAST use up too much energy and will slow down at the end and be passed by the other horses. So what can be learned from this? I'd invite you to turn to Mosiah4:27 in the Book of Mormon. We here in life are much like these horses... and in many different ways. We can't run faster than we have strength... yet we can't afford to run at a pace that's too slow to win the race. 

It's all about balance.
I'd invite you to ponder and pray about the balances in your life and how the Lord can help you to "win the race". 

I love you tons!
-Elder Wahlen

Pictures from leadership meeting

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Howdy y'all,

So I won't be long today... although I had many great things to write about this week! Wanted to share something that I've learned and have been applying more in my life lately...
First, please turn to John, chapter 3
When Christ speaks to Nicodemus, he speaks of being "born again". Nicodemus, with his apostate understanding and Earthly level of thinking, questions the Savior and says something to the extent of "Being born again?" because he doesn't understand. The Savior is at a higher level of understanding/knowledge than Nicodemus... but what does the Savior do? He comes down to the level of understanding that Nicodemus is at and through His teaching, helps him overcome the barriers that prevent him from being on the Saviors' level of understanding. He takes him from, "Being born again?" to "Being born again! Baptism!". He uplifts, encourages, inspires and raises the VISION and UNDERSTANDING of Nicodemus. We too must help others in a similar way. We must go to the level (and location) of those we teach, lead, etc... and then help them raise their faith, vision and expectations to achieve those of the Saviors' and our Father in Heaven. We are to place ourselves in THEIR shoes... help them lift and carry THEIR burdens... and we must help them to grow and become who they truly are. More examples of this can be found later on in the book of John.... the Samarian women at the well, etc. I would invite you to keep this in mind through your life and service in the various callings and positions you will receive.... and to always look to raise others up to the Saviors level as we look up and increase our faith to reach the level that God and Christ need and want us to be.

Born again!
Born again?

This is a model that can be used for many things in life... including goals. Try replacing "Born again!" with a goal you want to achieve... then replace "Born again?" with where you currently stand. Now, list the obstacles preventing us from getting to where the Savior wants and needs us to be on the left side... then list the plans/actions on the right hand side that will help us to rise up and overcome those obstacles and achieve the level that we're striving for. It's a powerful tool and a powerful way to teach, or at least I've found so myself. I promise as you do this prayerfully that you will receive power from the Heavens to help you achieve and reach what the Lord has for you. I love you! Y'all are amazing!

-Elder Wahlen