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.

14 October 2013

Letter to All:

This week was a great one.  I´m starting to have a lot of great weeks lately!  I don´t want to leave this area!  

Well Erasmo is doing great, he´s on track for his baptism, we are just waiting on the wedding papers.  We had a ton of good lessons this week.  Also we have found a lot of new investigators.  Some of them are really positive.  There are 2 I´d like to talk about.  

1st are Flor and Wilmer:  A couple about 30 years old each.  They want to go back to visiting a church, they have pushed themselves away from God and they want to return to him.  Flor has cried in almost every lesson, she talks a lot and shared her personal experiences and the desires she has. We taught her this is exactly what she needs in her life and we are offering this to help her come back to God and be a better person.  They were a reference from a member family and Saturday they helped us a lot in the lesson that we had.

2nd are Mitchel and Genaro: We had the first lesson with them yesterday.  We contacted her Friday and we gave her a video of the Restoration.  They watched the video and they liked it a lot.  She said it talked about the doubt she has had all of her life, which church is true.  They were very positive and interested in hearing about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  We told them the truth of all of this depends on the Book of Mormon, that´s the way you can find out which of all these many churches are true.  They have a baptismal date for Dec. 7th, but if they progress we´ll changed it to sooner.

Well Maykalin came back, we had passed by all week and no one was there until we came Sunday morning to take them to church.  But Felix gave us bad news.  Maykalin had given her new born baby girl away to some relative who lives in another city because her sister and mom told her to do it.  Felix was torn and they were getting ready to go look for the baby.  He said right now I can´t serve God with this on my shoulders.  But I have faith they´ll get the baby back and they will be even more grateful for their family and it will be a breaking point for them.

Ronald wasn´t there this week he´ll be back on Thursday, I hope.  Satan is working on many of our investigators but they´ll pull through.

I´m loving this work more and more.  

Elder Willden

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

7 October 2013

Letter to All:

Another good week!  We´ll there were changes....Elder Ajtun got transferred, my new companion is.....Elder Apsley....from Draper, Utah.  Round two with a white companion.  He lived by the In and Out in Draper, not very far from our home!  And now all the way over here in Santo Tomás, Nicaragua.  He has 14 months in the mission; on the 9th I´ll have 17!

General Conference was unforgettable, truly a great one.  So many talks that I want so many people to hear.  They talked a lot about hope, faith, loving God, trusting in God.  I really like Elder Bednar´s talk about tithing, because he applied it to our lives in a unique way that I hadn’t fully seen it that way before. President Monson´s talk on Sunday was an excellent one as well.  We brought 5 investigators with the help of members, as a district we brought 11!  

Well things are going well with Elder Apsely, working hard.  His Spanish is pretty good.  I guess I can brush up on my English skills.  I told him he´ll probably be the new DL here when I get changed haha, we´ll see if it happens.

Friday we had maybe the most powerful lesson of my whole mission.  It was with Felix.  We showed up to his house and immediately I knew things weren´t right.  I saw a bed missing, no kids and no wife.  He was alone, saddened, and confused.  He told us that Maykalin had showed up one night at 3am drunk and later took the two kids and left.  Felix didn´t know what to do, then we showed up.  When he told us I frankly had no idea what I could tell him to lift up his spirits, because he was really down.  I started to tell him, that we all aren´t perfect and all of us make mistakes.

Then a scripture popped into my head (spirit) Alma 34:40-41, we read it and I felt the spirit very strongly.  But he didn´t understand it completely, so we backtracked a scripture and read 39 as well.  Then he understood the message.  Don´t let Satan take advantage of you in this moment and drag you to unhappiness in your poor and saddened estate.  Have hope, continue forward, have faith, this is a challenge; it´s a moment to grow, don´t give up.  This Spirit was rich as he began to apply the scripture to himself; he said it was a powerful scripture.  I know he felt the spirit in that moment and he felt that the Book of Mormon was true.

Then we began to testify of the atonement of Jesus Christ, which I had studied that morning in PMG chapter 1, and I saw that it talked a lot about the atonement and how it is central in this message of great hope.  I told him Christ understands you perfectly, he knows what you are feeling.  Pray to him for the strength, to clear up your mind and carry on.  Pray to him fervently, harder than ever.  Then I shared Marissela´s experience (from Nandaime) how she had asked to lord for comfort and received it.  

He gave the closing prayer, and the spirit and the love of God was so strong that we all began to have tears streaming down our cheeks.  We gave him a hug and left, allowing him to remain in the richness of the Spirit to meditate and pray.  Later on Sunday he came to conference, and I believe many of the talks really spoke to him, hopefully he is a home today so we can talk about it.

This experience was a great testimony builder for me, that I have a message so important that it has power to turn lives around.  It´s not my message, I didn´t say anything, only the Spirit spoke.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God, I know this without any doubt, and it counsels us and comforts us.  The Spirit is real.  Christ died for us and gives succor to us.  God is our LOVING heavenly father.  It is a joy sharing his love with others.  Share this message of peace and comfort with all!

I love you all; God loves you a lot more, always remember to return him, this love by doing something good to another before Christmas as one of our apostles told us in this general conference.

Love, Elder Willden

Friday, October 4, 2013

30 September 2013

30 September 2013

Letter to All:

Well I missed last week, but that just means I will have to write more.

Last week was a great week!  First of all Erasmo has been progressing very well and is very excited for his baptism.  Sadly he didn´t pass the interview and won´t get baptized until the 12th because he drank coffee.  

Ronald came back! And....with his family!  That was the best part of the week.  He came to church now that´s 3 times but we are going to work with the wife so they can get baptized together on Oct. 19th.  He´s 62 I believe, she´s 25...kind of weird but oh well, I´ve heard of worse here!  In Nicaragua age doesn´t always matter.

Last Sunday Maykalin and Felix came to church, also Erasmo and Ronald.  We were super excited to see them there!  It´s the first time someone has brought a family to church in my area for over a year!  As well last Sunday I gave a talk.

It was about the first and great commandment, which is to love God.  I was hard on them, I taught about how we can love God: Obeying his commandments, loving your neighbor, going to church, bringing a friend to church, helping less actives.  And I asked, ¨Are we loving God enough?, I think we can do a little more.¨  I cited in the last Chapter of Juan of when Christ came to visit his apostles after his resurrection and he said to Peter, “ Do you love me?” - 3 times.  I changed the scripture from ¨Do you love me, more than these (fish)?  Feed my sheep. To  --  Do you love me?  Then come to church, and bring a lost sheep with you.

Then I shared two experiences in my life about the importance of never missing church, not even once and also another experience about the Sacrament.  When I was a priest and we would give the sacrament to Brother Pribil.  I remember the last time we went to give it to him he was so ill, he couldn´t talk, neither eat.  But I could see the joy in his eyes when he saw us enter the room with the sacrament there.  I went and gave him the pan and I only touched it to his lips and I could fell his grand gratefulness that we had brought this sacred sacrament to him.  If I recall about 4 days later he died.  I shared that with them and I almost cried, and those who know me I´m not one to cry much.  Several in the congregation cried.  Then the other 2 talks (not planned) tied in perfectly.

This Sunday, almost all that were there last Sunday came again.  The other Sunday 29 came, this Sunday we had 49.  Sadly this Sunday we didn´t have any investigators come.  We are going to work very hard to get them to General Conference, it will be a great experience for them, we are going to make invitations and invite everyone!

Saturday the other Elders had 3 baptism, they hadn´t baptized until now. The baptism was a great success, 41 people came, and over half were investigators.  

October is going to be a great month; we have been working all September to have a good month for October.  Maykaling and Felix have come one time in church.  Ronald has 3 times and Damaris his wife 0.  Erasmo has 4 times and his wife has 2 times, Erasmo hasn´t turned back to drinking he rejects his friends when they invite him.  We are truly starting to see the fruits of our labors.  This area is tough, but I don´t want to leave, It would be sad to miss these people getting baptized and the branch growing.  Changes are Wednesday, we´ll see what happens.

I love you all, take care,and never stop going to church, always look to bring a lost sheep unto the fold.  Thank you always for the constant support!

Elder Willden