Friday, December 20, 2013

16 December 2013

16 December 2013

Letter to all:

Well, I´m sure you´re all wondering, ¨Did he have changes? ¨ Yup.  I got changed to San Marcos, Carazo.  My companion is Elder Velásquez from Guatemala.  He has 18 months in the mission.  My companion is a good missionary, very obedient, and he knows what he´s doing.  So we should have some great success together.  I´m about to have 20 months in the  I´ve been assigned as a zone leader.  

San Marcos is nice and cool, good members too.  It´s the biggest ward I´ve ever served in with an average of 130 members attending.  In the zone there are 20 missionaries, 8 elders and 12 sisters.

Our area is well....lets just say there´s a lot of work to do.  We are making a lot of plans for our area and our zone, to hasten this work.  We want to do things that missionaries don´t normally do to get investigators.  For example on the 7th we are going to go to the park and polish everyone´s shoes for free, while others are writing down their names and information.  

We´ll I´ll let you know how the next week goes.  Tomorrow we are going to a meeting at the president's house, so that´ll be interesting.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Willden

Friday, December 13, 2013

9 December 2013

9 December 2013

Letter to all:

Well this week was a great week.  Why?  Because, we baptized!  Damaris was baptized Saturday!  What a great experience to see her get baptized!  Now that makes a family, Ronald and Damaris, the first family baptized here for quite a while!  I´m very happy that she decided to take this step, in the end she understood most of what we had taught and felt like she needed to get baptized.  We had Hermano Juan do the baptism, because there´s a new rule in the mission that missionaries can´t baptize.

Also a member who was excommunicated finally got the okay to be baptized. Sunday he asked me to confirm him, he´s going to be an awesome member he was a missionary, and he knows a lot.

Also a new member came to the branch, he´s from Costa Rica, his name is Bismar.  He has been a member for 13 years.  So he will be a great support for the branch, maybe he´ll be a counselor.  The branch is going well, now we are maintaining about 50 in church as an average.

Let's see what else...the members have been working with us more and more, and we have been having great lessons companioned with the testimonies of these members, we want every investigator to have a friend in church.

The new family Felipe and Felipa have a baptismal date for January 25th, he is catholic but open to listen to us and ask God about it.  He said, "But I have faith that I was baptized and there were witnesses."  So a member explained how he was catholic as well and he had doubts about getting baptized again.  The member also explained how small children are not capable of sin.  Then we told him he needed to ask God about it, if he should get baptized.  He said, "I´ll take your advice."

We had a good lesson with Wilmer and Flor.  We read 1 Nephi 3 with them because they haven´t been reading on their own, we read a part about why is was so important to obtain these records, then I gave them an example.  I asked Flor, ¨let's say you want to write your mom a letter, but the government wants to capture you for something you did and you put your life on the line to get this letter to your mother.  Then she gets the letter and throws it away.  How would you feel? ¨I´d feel that I am not important to my mother", she said.  Then I told her, the Book of Mormon was written for your great, great, great grandparents and when you don´t read this book, they feel the same way.  They understood well, and committed to read the Book of Mormon more.

Erasmo´s wife also has a baptisimal date for January 25th, hopefully she´ll stop smoking, that´s her biggest hang up for baptism.  

The other elders are going to had baptism this Saturday too, a family - complete as well, they´ve been working very hard too.

Everything is going great!  

Changes are this Wednesday, I keep saying I´ll probably go but I keep staying - haha, but this time I think It´s time to move on to my next and most likely last area.

Keep it up over there, keep reading the scriptures!  

Love, Elder Willden

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! 28 November 2013

2 December 2013

Letter to all:

Where should I start, let's see...  Well Felix and Maykalin are back together now. Thursday we decided to go over there and see if Felix would be there, we showed up at about 8:40.  Felix has a stable job  so he was not there. Maykalin told us about all of her problems and her biggest desire is to get her children back.  Some people have accused her of doing things to her baby that she says she didn´t do.  She does admit she does have some physiological problems and wants to look form help.

In all her life she has had very few good experiences, terrible parents than never taught her the way toward happiness.  She told us she wants to change her life completely and to no longer have this hatred towards the people who have harmed her.  We told her that Christ is the way she can overcome this and that through the miracle of forgiveness she can forget about the past, forgive others and change.  We shared Alma 7:11-14 with her and after reading that she asked, so when is the next date for baptism.  Excellent!  But first you need to get married I told her.  The only obstacle is that she doesn´t have a birth certificate, but we know what to do to get it.  

Wilmer and Flor are doing alright, he´s doing better with his word of wisdom problems.  But they didn´t come to church, so we taught them about obedience and how putting God before everything will bring them blessings.  We shared in 3 Nephi 13: 33 and D and C 130.  They understood that they aren´t putting forth their part and they recommitted to another baptismal date.

Damaris is doing great she´s going to get baptized this Saturday!  She just has to pass the baptismal interview.  

We also found a new family that is very positive, Felipe and Felipa.  Did they plan that haha?  He told us the other day, I like how you guys teach, you aren´t like others, you don´t come and tell me that I´m lost and that my church isn´t true because of this this and that.  You just come and share the truth with us and ask us to pray about it.  He is catholic, we taught him the restoration and he came up with stuff about how the Catholic Church and their line of authority but we just told him how he needs to pray and ask God.  He understood well and I know he´ll pray.  He is always intrigued with every pamphlet we give him and he loves them.

At church 53 people came!  As a district we brought 10, not bad for a branch!  We are getting real success here.  The activity that we are doing is really functioning and getting people animated to help us with the work.  One member who is a little less active brought her boyfriend Claudio.  He is very positive and has excellent questions.  She helps him out a lot, we taught him about the Book of Mormon, how it came to be and why it´s important to us.  Then we asked him, now, why would it be important for you to read it and according to his answer he understood very well.  The only problem is that he lives in Managua so we are going to send the reference over there.

I´m very happy to be here and see how this work is moving forward here.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Elder Willden

We had a pretty good Thanksgiving as well.  We actually ate turkey!  Turkey, chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls, soda, brownies, and ice cream.  Not bad for out here, I´m surprised the Zone Leaders could find the turkey and brownies.  But the brownies turned out bad, they were like jello haha!  The ice cream was super crystallized as well, but over all it was good!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

25 November 2013 Jump and Turn in Action

It is so good to see Elder Willden having some fun!  Even if it is simply jumping with a full 360 off of a boulder!

25 November 2013

25 November 2013

Letter to All:

¨Rain with sun, lucky day!¨  

That´s a saying here.  So Saturday night we decided to go visit Felix, we hadn't seen him for about 3 weeks, and there he was.  When we showed up he said that phrase.  Lucky day, when you find people you don´t expect to find.  He´s still going well, he´s still getting over his problems.  Hopefully we can get him to church next Sunday, he has a job now and is working a ton.

Wilmer and Flor didn´t come to church because they has a commitment, but Flor is doing well.  She has begun to defend the church when other friends talk bad about it.  Wilmer still is drinking, and I´m pretty sure he does marijuana too.  But we had a powerful lesson with them.  We asked Wilmer how he was doing with the word of wisdom and he said badly.  We kept talking and I felt I had to share Alma 22:15-18 with them.  Then I invited them to abandon their biggest sin, so that they can have this hope they desire and so that they can know God.  I was very bold with them but they understood well, hopefully they will apply it to their lives.

Genaro came to church, we had been teaching him for almost 2 months and he finally came and it turns out one of the member is an old friend of his.  So today we are going to visit him with the friend.  

Also Wendi and Isaid came to church, they are new investigators.  They are friends of Cyril.  We had always gone to the house of Cyril, but he was never there.  Turns out he´s outside of the country.  So we decided to talk to them more, and we taught Wendi and Isaid and they came to church that next Sunday.  

In church 52 people came, we had 3 investigators and the other Elders did great with 9 investigators!  After not having investigators for 2 weeks they had 9.  I told them to be patient, one of the elders in these weeks told me he didn´t want to be here anymore.  I just told him to be patient and he´ll find people ready to accept the gospel.

President Russell came to church as well, he gave a talk about the importance of being founded in the restored gospel.  How we shouldn´t be like those trees with shallow roots and that fall when a storm comes, we should have deep roots into the gospel so we fall not.  It was good for the members to hear that.

A lot of members are looking to help us in the work when we started this activity- Best Branch Missionary.  It´s going to be a great success.  We are starting to work as a team, things are flowing, and the mission leader is finally going to meet with us. The members are interested in visiting the people we are teaching.  I´m very content, president was very happy to see the success.  I just hope it will continue when after I´m gone.  I´m going to do the best I can to leave my area well off for the next one who comes by.

The other week I wrote and asked the president if I could open a new area.  He talked to me on Sunday and he said, "Sorry, 50 Elders are going to leave soon and only 30 are coming in.   So actually instead of opening areas I´m closing them."  Kind of a bummer but, oh well.  He said, ¨maybe you´ll finish the mission in Santo Tomas.......I doubt it.¨  

Also where we eat lunch the guy is an excommunicated member, but he´s going to get baptized Saturday!  I blessed his baby.  I´m so happy for him, he will be a great support for the branch now!

This week we did a little sightseeing and we had some good, good food!  

We´ll take care all!

Elder Willden

Super Elder - "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound"!!

18 November 2013

18 November 2013

Letter to all:

Well I have great news!  I´m here for another change, but this change is only four 4 weeks.  I´m very content that the Lord has allowed me to stay for another month.  Well Damaris said she wanted a little more time to prepare herself for baptism.  So we are thinking of doing it on December 7th but we hope she can be firm on her decision.  

Other great news!  Wilmer and Flor came to church!  They said they loved it as well.  Flor said to her friend who´s a member, ¨Of all of the churches I´ve ever been to none of them have ever told me I have a purpose in this life.¨  We are so blessed to have this restored gospel in our lives.  I think sometimes we don´t realized the greatness of this blessing.  We have the truth everyone is looking for in this life!  The doctrine is so pure and special and no one else has even half of the gospel God has given us!  I am so grateful that Wilmer and Flor could see that.  They said they are going to be coming every Sunday, we want them to get baptized December 7th too!  3 baptisms and 2 families.  Pray for these 3!  I know they can make it, they are such special people it has been a grand pleasure teaching them.

The week in general was good, we found some new investigators that accepted our message with kindness and a desire to know more how it can bless them.  What I like to do in the very first appointment is to tell them of how it can change their life and how it has changed my life.  And why I am here in their home, and what blessings the Lord wants to give them.  Then we leave them a pamphlet.  I believe teaching in this manner will help people to realize the importance of this message and give them desires to read and learn more. 

Some very positive investigators are hard to find and it´s a little sad so see how they accept it with joy at first but for one reason or another they make it hard to find them again, for work or other things. But we´ll keep looking for them.  I´ve learned to not give up so fast on people.

So December 10th will be the next changes, so I should be changed then, but you never know!  Hardly anyone in the mission was changed in the past changes.  Some say that president is going to open a lot of new areas and also that there will only be 1 zone leader per zone and they will train.  I believe these plans will bring more success to the Lords work, but they are just rumors, I don´t know for sure.  I wrote the president and told him I´d love to open a new area, but if the Lord has something else in mind, I´ll go where he wants me.  So well find out haha.

The branch was going well but all of the sudden only 24 people came yesterday, it´s sad.  So as missionaries we are going to do an activity.  It´s what we did in Nandaime in May, best branch missionary!  We are going to focus on helping the members complete their duties as missionaries, all the month of December.  Then we are going to end with an awesome Christmas Activity.  I hope it will help everyone to get excited to work in the Lord's work!

We have a family that is ready to serve the Lord and ready to help us, this family was the family that brought Wilmer and Flor to church!  They are a great help for us, hopefully all of you back at home can have these same desires as this family to work in the Lord's work.  

Take care!  I love you all!  

Elder Willden 

These are called tajadas, we learned how to make them.

Tajadas are sweet-savory strips of ripe plantain that have been fried until golden and caramelized. The word tajada means "slice", and to make tajadas the plantain is cut lengthwise into long strips. Tajadas are often served alongside a full plate of food, like a garnish.

11 November 2013

11 November 2013

Letter to All:

Well first of all Ronald and Erasmo have the Aaronic priesthood now so that´s great!  Because there are few here who have the priesthood and come to church.  They are doing great.  I´m starting to say goodbye to everyone, because changes are probable, if I stay I´ll just have to tell them that Lord let me stay for another month.  You´ll all have to wait until next Monday to find out about the changes then!  Sorry!

Damaris is progressing toward baptism, she´s getting to know the members and she feels good in church.  It´s just hard to teach her because she doesn´t talk a lot, but she´s warming up to us.  I am happy to know I´m leaving the area a lot better off than how I found it!

Well Wilmer and Flor and having relationship problems, fights and lies and drinking.  We talked to them last night, I shared with them 1 peter 3: 7-9.  Then we continued talking and the spirit really guided us in what we needed to tell them.  We were very bold but loving.  We told them that Satan is attacking them, but that God wants their love to prosper.  They still have desires to continue forward.

We need to find some more investigators though for the future, some that were very positive to get baptized this month are taking longer but I still have faith they´ll get baptized.

Genaro and Mitchel are doing well, they have liked everything we´ve taught them, their problem is that they just don´t want to come to church for some reason, but they´ll get there.

Hopefully I get sent to an area that has people progressing because it´s sad to leave all of the people here but I´ll go where the Lord commands me.  It´ll probably be my last area too!  

Oh yeah we found Felix again riding on his puny bike haha.  Maykalin left him for good now and he is very sad about that but he accepts it, he´s been working a ton lately 4 or 5 am to like 8 or 9 pm.  So it´s really hard to find him.  Hopefully today I can find him and help him to come back and let the Savior help him.

Well no pictures this week sorry!

Elder Willden

Sunday, November 10, 2013

4 November 2013

4 November 2013

Letter to all:

Well Tuesday President interviewed us.  From what everyone had told me he was getting after everyone, so I was wondering if he was going to do the same with me, but no.  He just thanked me for all of the work I´ve done.  He told me when he first heard about Santo Tomás everyone told him about the giant problems that there were.  He was tempted to take the missionaries out of here and close it down.  But he told me the branch is doing great now, it´s been progressing. And he was happy with all of our work as a district.  The assistance is growing little by little and things are starting to roll now.  President asked me, do you think it´s time for you to have changes?  I said ¨I don´t want to leave!!¨ He said we´ll see what the Lord wants.  Then at of the end of the interview he said, yeah I´m pretty sure the Lord is going to pull you out of there. looks like I´ll be having changes...sadly.  It´s been a great experience here.  I´ve learned a lot!  Damaris came to church again, she should get baptized the 23rd of November.

We also put baptismal dates with Josué and Cyril for the 23rd.  We have about 8 people way positive to get baptized, so I´m kind of bummed about missing that.  But if the Lord calls, I have to go.  The 13th there are changes.

Josué is doing great, he told us he wants to read the entire Book of Mormon.

Cyril is awesome!  He said in the first appointment that he wanted to get baptized.  

Yesterday we went to visit Flor, they still haven´t come to church.  We had a good lesson with her.  I shared an experience with her about the importance of always going to church and never having excuses to not go.  She said she´ll come and she won´t let anything get in the way between her and the Lord.  

Later she started to talk about the problems she has had with Wilmer in the past.  She said several time people from other churches have come by trying to help them have better lives, come to Christ and all but they never really helped her.  She said, since you guys have been coming to visit us, our life has gotten a little bit better now.  She said her husband had an open her heart toward us and he really listens to what we have to say and he is changing. They fight a little less, he drinks less, and they are happier.  She said she wished she could have us visiting her every day.  She said that compared to the other people from other churches, that we are more powerful.  I told her that it´s because the message we have is true and it has great power to change people’s lives, that we don´t teach a thing, the Holy Ghost teaches everything.  But we aren´t always going to be here to help you improve your life, that is exactly why you need to come to church, because you will feel the same way there, as you have felt having us in your home.

This calling a missionary has is very sacred, some might not always recognize that we represent Jesus Christ, but those who do, will feel the spirit, change their lives, and become baptized.  Sometimes I feel that I´m not even close to fulfilling these grand responsibilities that a missionary has, but the Lord always helps me to be better and more that what I am.

The other day I read Alma 

44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?
45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen aso great bcourage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.

 46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will anot suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

I love the phrase: ¨Father, behold our God is with us, and he will anot suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth;¨  

What faith!  Truly God is with us, he will not let us fall, let us go forth with faith like the strippling warriors!  Let us Hasten this work!

Take care!  I love you all!

Elder Willden

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

28 October 2013

Things are going amazing over here, I couldn´t be happier,    It´s tough but the Lord is truly blessing me.

Letter to All:

Well...great news!  Erasmo and Ronald got baptized!  Friday Erasmo´s daughter shows up with her mom’s papers for the wedding so at the last minute we had to do everything.  We had to buy some shoes for Damaris because she only had 1 pair of sneakers.  We had to get photo copies of all the IDs of the two families that were getting married.  We had to look for witnesses and get photo copies of their ID´s as well and then bring it all to the lawyer.  It was a busy day, from 8 Am we walked all around the city and we didn´t stop walking until lunch and then after lunch we had to go all the way over to Ronald´s to bring him to the church so we could leave in the rented bus to go to Juigalpa.  On the way there the new shoes we had bought Damaris fell apart....nica shoes don´t last...  But in the end it all worked out and we had a great baptism.  Ronald and Erasmo were very grateful to be able to be baptized.

Hopefully their wives will take the same step soon!  

Damaris came to church with Ronald, so we are planning to baptize her on November 9th. 

So we got home at 6pm from the baptism when it was supposed to start at 3pm in Juigalpa.  And we were super tired but we still worked, and I am grateful that we did.  We went to visit a family and then at 7pm we visited Josué.  I´ll just tell you what he told us Saturday.

¨The other day you guys came to my house, late, and drenched from all of the rain that there was.  And I just thought to myself, I wouldn´t do that (going to visit someone under the rain) even if they paid me.  You must have a pretty good reason why you guys come to visit me...I want to know what that reason is.¨

I told him that I wasn´t here to just teach him a pretty message about another church in Santo Tomás.  I said that this is the church of Jesus Christ, the true church.  I explained how I have been so blessed to have this all of my life, to grow up in a family that lives this gospel.  I said, I´m here because I want you to have the same blessings the Lord has given me.  That´s truly why I´m here in Nicaragua, to bless others with what I´ve been given and they don´t have it yet.  That´s why I have to do all I can so that all may come unto Christ our Savior.

Elder Spencer Eastwood wrote me today and put a scripture in the email and it goes perfectly well with the experience that we had with Josué.  1 Peter 3:15 “But asanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give ban answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with dmeekness and efear:”

We have this hope!  We have the truth!  We should never forget that, we should always help others to get up to have hope and to come unto Christ.  I know that he lives, and that he loves me, he has forgiven me many times and he has made me better.  He is the reason we have been having so much success lately, I have been so blessed to be in this area, it has been the best area for me, I have learned a lot lately about how the Lord really can use us to be saviors of men.  I am so blessed, ¨Heavenly Father has been so good to me!¨  

I don´t want to leave here, there are so many I have a love for, the Spirit has guided us to these chosen people.  

The other day I said to Elder Apsley, ¨the only thing that lacks to happen in our area is for a golden investigator to come and contact us.¨ I believe that this just happened today, but we´ll find out for sure.  His name is Cyril, he’s from Belize, and he speaks English.  We were walking down the street going to the cyber today and he yelled, “Hey! Where is the church at?”  We stopped and talked, the missionaries were teaching him in Guatemala, he almost got baptized but we do not know what happened, but now he lives here.  I´ll let you know what happens.

With love,

Elder Willden

So today we learned how to make some food with a member, she taught us how to make empanadas and rosquillas.  We had to do everything, it took 5 hours but it was fun.  We had to go grind the corn and cheese, then make a ton of dough and mix it by hand and then do it again, we got the oven ready with a bunch of firewood burnt down to coals.  Then we put the pans in with the dough for the rosquillas and empanadas then they cooked pretty fast and she gave us each a bag.  It was cool, a lot of work but I enjoyed it!

21 October 2013

Letter to all:

Well another good week.  Sunday was a great day.  5 investigators came to church, Erasmo came with his wife Melania, and he also brought a friend!  How awesome, he´s not even baptized yet and he brought a friend!  Ronald said he wanted to get married and baptized the 26th!  So we are going to get him and Erasmo baptized if everything comes out well.  2 weddings and 2 baptisms, and we´ll get their wives baptized later on, hopefully I´ll still be here.

Josué came to church as well, he liked it a lot, we have been teaching him for a while but for several weeks we couldn´t find him.  But we found him, we had a good lesson and he said he was going to come to church, so yesterday we showed up to his house and brought him.  He said, next week I´ll bring my family and we´ll stay for the 3 hours next week.  So I´m excited for him and his family!  We met them one night about 3 months or so ago.  It was raining and we were looking for a less active member nearby, we came to their house asking if they knew anyone by that name but they didn´t.  They invited us into the house and gave us coffee haha.  We said no thanks we don´t drink that so they gave us another drink.  We had a lesson and he has been positive since.  But sadly he´s only home once a week.  

Flor and Wilmer are doing well, we had a great lesson on the plan of salvation but we didn´t get to finish so we left them wondering what happens after we die, they liked the lesson a lot.

Mitchel and Genaro are doing well, only she has to start taking classed on Sundays now...bummer.  But it will be only for 3 weeks.  She asked us a ton a questions.  She said she doesn´t like all of these evangelical churches that tell you how to do everything in your life and you have to give money to a pastor who just uses the tithing to buy a truck.  We taught them about the basic structure of the church and then we talked a little bit about forgiveness. We ended talking a lot about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  At the end they said they still haven´t received an answer yet but they understand that it will be in God’s time.  But she did like that Christ had come to the Americas and had always wondered ¨why didn´t he come to the Americas too.¨  So we are helping her recognize that reading the Book of Mormon is key to getting an answer.  

Well I´m very excited for the baptisms and for the future one´s that will get baptized, we are working harder than ever and looking how to become better missionaries.  

Take care everyone, I love you all!

Elder Willden

Today we went and climbed up a big hill and took pictures of everything, it was pretty sweet!  We could see the whole city and more.  Sadly the computer doesn´t read the camera -- so until next week.