Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Last Mission Letter

28 April 2014

Letter to all:

Well this is the last one.  I´ll start with what happened in this week then I´ll write my epistle.

This week I was on divisions for 3 days, it was weird to be away from the area for so long but Elder Mann needed to be in the area because I´m leaving.  I had the privilege to learn from others, teach others, help companionships that are struggling.  It was good. And Tuesday we were in Managua all day until 6.  So I was only in the area for 2 full working days, but I worked hard those days!  Tuesday night we found 16 new investigators for Elder Mann, which was good because we were needing new investigators!  Saturday and Sunday we found a lot of new people.  We put down several baptismal dates and I feel we left the area off pretty well for Elder Mann and his future companion.  Sunday we had a great experience, but it started a few weeks back - the story.

We were walking down a street looking for people to contact and Elder Mann, said I felt something, lets go back and contact in that street.  We contacted 2 houses, they didn´t want anything.  We asked a little old Catholic lady for a reference of someone who was passing through trials and she told us about her neighbor Juan.  Juan is 16 he lives alone and is kind of a kid of the street but he has a house.  Yet it´s empty there is nothing but a light bulb and a cage of pigeons in his house.  There was a strange feeling in his home as we went to contact him Sunday.  We talked, we asked him a couple of questions.  He told us that he wanted to change his life, he wanted to repent of his sins and be a different person.  We talked about that and about the importance of baptism so he can have the full remission of his sins.  He accepted a baptismal date for May 31st.  I pray Elder Mann baptizes him, I know he´ll get baptized!

It was a good last week, we worked very hard these last two weeks!  We found 30 new investigators this week!  And we put like 8 baptismal dates!  It was great!  I´ll be praying for these people back at home so that they can get baptized!

I gave a talk Sunday on the importance of serving a mission, my last talk. I thought the other one was my last but they had me talk this week!  A member brought a new family to church, some of his friends, they stayed for the full 3 hours and they were amazing!  During the sacrament I felt a very special feeling, tears were starting to bubble up in my eyes.  I felt a grand feeling of gratitude, that a new family was there and that I still had one more Sunday in Nicaragua.  I felt very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve here, to grow here, and to learn from others here, to come unto my Savior here, Nicaragua will always be a sacred place for me.  It will be tough to leave my family here in Nicaragua.  I hope to return as soon as possible so I can see all of the people I witnessed get baptized.

The mission has changed my life forever.  No one can understand how and why it changes your life until you serve a mission.  These have been the best 2 years for my life, I know that without a doubt.  I wish I could just go hide out in the mountains and preach the gospel to Indians haha!  But It´s not my mission, it´s the Lords, he says it´s only 2 years, so it shall be 2 years.

I have learned so much in so little time.  5 main things are the following (it´s what I talked about in my last talk)

1. To love God and to do his will
2. To love my neighbor
3. One´s life changes as you serve the Lord and forget about yourself
4. One comes closer to Christ, realizes that he needs him a lot, and learns about the great power of the atonement
5. That It´s a privilege to serve a mission

If I would have never served the mission I would have never realized my true purpose in this life.  Many people now days try to change God´s plan for them.  Many people don´t understand why the Lord wants us to serve a mission.  I can tell you that I didn´t know exactly why I had to serve a mission before I served, but I knew I had to do it, I knew that God wanted me to do it.  God uses these 2 years to save us, to mold us, to make us a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  No other experience can give you this grand change in so little time.  It is my prayer that all consider serving a mission, asking God if it his will that you serve, if you do it with real intent he will say YES!  I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, because I have felt them by my side, I have seen miracles, I know they love me.  I am glad to say that I served a mission.  I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Willden

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Elder Willden's Second to Last Letter!!

21 April 2014

Letter to All:

Well this one won’t be so long, but that last one will be pretty long I guess.  This week was great. We worked very hard, and as a result of our hard work we found many new positive people who are in need of this gospel.  The area is filled with new people now for Elder Mann to teach and we will continue looking for new people.  We found 2 great new families that I hope will get baptized later on!

The Lord always rewards hard work in the mission field.  President Russell always says that in this mission whoever works will baptized, it is simple as that.

Sunday I will give another talk, I plan to talk about the importance of serving a mission as a full time missionary and in your own town.  

We had a small zone activity, it was simple, we rented out a pizza place for free and we had a good time together and we ate nachos and pizza.  The owner was born in Maryland!  But he came over here to have a more family centered life, not a work centered one.

I’m grateful to still be here, I pray the Lord will pour his Spirit upon this people in my absence.  Well, until next week.

Elder Willden

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

14 April and 7 April 2014

Letter to All:

SURPRIZE!!!!!  Baptisms!!!  Wooooh!  I didn´t expect it either!  Pedro and Karla got baptized!

But first I´ll talk about the interview that we had on Friday then about Pedro and Karla.  So Friday I had my interview with President, it was short.  He basically told me, don’t think about your home, don´t make plans there is plenty of time for that after the mission, just work hard in your last weeks.  Go to the temple when you get back and the Lord will take you by the hand.  That´s the exact revelation I received in conference in one of the talks.  I feel happy to be here still, I´m working hard still!  Today at 5 I´ll have my last interview with the president, so I´ll let you know what he tells me.

So we´ll start with Pedro first!

We were worried that he wasn´t going to pass the interview but we decided to have the district leader do it and he passed it, but we hadn’t planned the baptism yet.  But the sisters in the ward had one already planned, so we came over Saturday morning and we told him, Hey, it’s your baptism today!  He was fine with that.  It was last minute but it was a miracle!

Karla was a bigger miracle.  Oh hey I forgot to tell you that she´s pregnant with her second son, he´ll be born in September!  Anyway...  We went to visit her Saturday to follow up on some things we had taught and to plan her baptism for the 19th of April.  We asked her, what time do you want to get baptized?  She said ummm, we´ll see, I´m not too sure.  She was iffy about her baptism.  So we told her, well come to see the baptism today at 7 and we´ll talk about the time for your baptism.  She said, can we talk Sunday?  Okay then.

We started leaving and we walked half a block away and her husband Keyler, yelled, “Hey Elders come back!”  So we went back and Karla asked us, ¨Can I get baptized today? ¨

OF COURSE SISTER!!!!  So we called the district leader to hurry over and interview her, because the baptism was only in 2 hours, we found a dress and we did everything last minute and she got baptized too!

It was a miracle.  It reminds me of something Laura told me last week, ¨Just work super hard in your last weeks, don´t worry about anything, I remember than in my last weeks I worked hard and I saw a lot of miracles in my last weeks of the mission.¨ Well I can say the same!!

What a great experience!

Well take care!

Elder Willden

7 April 2014

Letter to All:

Hello everyone!  Well, first of all Karla is doing great I believe she is going to be baptized, she came to 2 conference sessions!  So that makes me very happy for her and her decisions she is taking to grow her faith and to come unto Christ.

Conference was great as always!  So many great talks but little time to talk about them.  Right now the talk I am remembering is the talk Elder Bednar gave, that parable about the firewood was great, he always has a parable like that and I always know what he´s going to say haha.  But I love his talk, I received special revelation in that talk.  We need to have a yoke in order to be happy!  Christ´s yoke!  Always remember that!

This week I´ve been putting down more baptismal dates, in our area and in other areas. Two days a week I´m not in the area.  It´s kind of weird putting dates for days I won’t even be here but I still feel good doing it and inviting them to commit to God!

Take care everyone!

Elder Willden

(Sorry no pictures today...)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

31 March 2014

31 March 2014

Letter to all:

Hello everybody.

Well this week went WAY to fast.  I`m having a lot of crazy emotions now, my companions say I`m acting like a woman haha.

But whenever my mind starts thinking about other things, I focus on the people I need to baptize before I leave and everything I need to do to help them and the Lord helps me to focus again.

Karla and Pedro are progressing very well.  My goal is to baptize 3 people this month, so just one more needs to progress to make the goal.  Karla is reading the Book of Mormon a lot more and she stayed for the 2nd hour which she had never done before.

Pedro`s house is cleaner, his appearance has changed, he hasn`t smoked for several days.  

I`m very happy to see that they are progressing and that they are coming closer to Jesus Christ.

We took more funny pictures, and we also have been recording songs together on P-days, it`s fun.

Elder Willden

Friday, March 28, 2014

Best Birthday Ever!!

24 March 2014

Letter to All:

They got baptized!  Wooooh!  My best birthday yet! haha!  

The baptism was great, the spirit was very strong in the baptism.  Everything turned out all right!  We gave Gustavo and Wilmer time to give their testimonies after the baptism.  Wilmer´s testimony was powerful, he is such a great example for me.  Friday a bunch of Catholics came to visit him and a ton of friends were sending him messages telling him he was crazy, he grandma didn`t want him to leave the house.  He has had some great trials of faith.  But he was willing to take his cross and follow Christ.  The trials will continue but I know he´ll be strong.

Wilmer and Gustavo also got the priesthood on Sunday.  And this coming Sunday Wilmer will be blessing the sacrament and Gustavo will be preparing it!  Almost all of the young men that are active here are converts, It´s pretty cool to see the faith of these kids.

I had a good birthday, we ate cheese cake, we took funny pictures, they tried to break an egg on my head but I caught them haha!  On my companion’s birthday we broke and egg on his head, Elder Mann turned 21 on the 18th.  And now on the 4th of April, Elder Agustin will turn 19!  We all have are birthdays together.

Karla is progressing, she´s reading the Book of Mormon more.  We read Alma 32 with her and we explained how she can grow her faith, but also if she didn’t read or go to church she was going to neglect the growth of her faith.

Pedro hasn´t smoked for a couple days and he´s been to church 4 times now!

Marta is excited once again to get baptized and she´s coming back to church, we just have to teach her more and she´ll get baptized too.  

So, we should have at least 3 baptisms in April!  Maybe 4...we want to start teaching Cristian again to see if she´s ready to get baptized.

Things are going well, we have a lot of work left ahead!

Take care everyone!

Elder Willden

 One Awesome Party!!

Missed a past email - so here it is!

10 March 2014

Letter to All:

Wow...another week passed by!  It flew by so fast that I don´t even know what to write.  Let’s see what comes to mind....

Well first off, I gave a talk in Church on Sunday, probably the last one as a full time missionary.  I talked about The Atonement and Missionary Work, based off a quote from Heber J. Grant I believe, I´m not sure though...

I studied the examples of the book of Mormon prophets such as, Lehi, Alma, Alma the younger, Zeezrom, Enos, and others.  I learned that many were sinners before they were prophets (or missionaries), but they received the remission of their sins.  And that immediately after being forgiven they began to pray for their brethren and for the Lamanites, and then they went out to preach the gospel unto them.  So I asked a question, ¨If we have repented of our sins and we don´t help another person to repent as well, have we really repented?¨  I truly believe that a part of repentance and our personal conversion is Missionary Work.  Alma would have never have become the great man he was if he had never preached the gospel, baptizing thousands of people.  I enjoyed giving the talk.  

Later, on Sunday we met with the Bishoprics of the stake (something we do every month), we talked to them about how the missionary work is going in the zone.  Then later we made some great plans for the missionary work in the stake.  We committed all of the Bishoprics to baptize a friend on May 10th and to get the future missionaries to do the same.  It was good, they also gave us the fifth Sunday in March to talk about Missionary Work.

Wilmer and Gustavo came to church.  They are doing great!  We are going to baptize them on the 22nd!!  Woooh!  My birthday!  2 future missionaries baptized on my birthday!  That´ll be the perfect gift!

Wilmer is amazing!  He will be a grand missionary!

Take care!

Elder Willden

Monday, March 17, 2014

17 March 2014

Letter to All:

Wow, another week.  Well it´s begun...my last change in the mission.  I don´t like the thought that´s it´s the last change, but It´ll be the best one I´m sure of it!  Wilmer and Gustavo are doing great, they are going to be baptized.  Marta, Cristian, Karla, and Pedro came to church as well!  So we should have some baptisms lined up for April as well.  My goal this week is to find a great family to baptize April 26th.  I want to see a big family get baptized!  So, I´ll be working on that!  I´m super happy that Wilmer and Gustavo are getting baptized and even better on my birthday!  YES!

Saturday and Sunday we had an Area Conference. Saturday it was just with the stake.  Some people who were going to speak didn´t show up and so the stake president had me give my testimony.  When I stood up everyone started giggling because I´m so big compared to everyone.  I got up to the pulpit and the mic didn´t reach up high enough to my mouth haha!  Everyone laughed so I decided to make a joke out of it.  So I said, ¨the mission has made me a very ´big´ person, everyone had a good laugh!  But I got to see a lot of people from Nandaime there!  So I gave my testimony and I testified about the joy it is to preach the gospel.

Our zone brought 50 people to church this weekend, that was great!  It was a huge success, everyone was happy!  I´m glad that together we are all having success, we want every companionship to baptize.  

Love you all!

Elder Willden

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 March 2014 - Life is Good!

3 March 2014

Letter to all:

Well this week was another great one!  5 people came to church wooooh!  Karla, Wilmer, Gustavo, Jorge, and Pedro.  I`ll tell you about each one.

- Karla: Her husband is a less-active but he`s a great guy.  The Elders were visiting them before, but they didn´t want to get married.  But on the 14th of February they got married, so we decided to start teaching them again.  Monday we had a great Family home evening with them with the Bishop and his wife.  They came to church!  So hopefully Karla continues to progress.

- Wilmer: Wilmer is awesome!  He has had 3 experiences testifying to him that he needs to get baptized!  He`s been to church 2 times, maybe we`ll baptize him on my birthday!  1st experience he had a dream that we brought him something with a white cloth on it and we said this is a gift from God (Book of Mormon). 2nd another dream, of him being baptized by Elder Mann in the font. 3rd he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and yesterday in Sunday school he said he prayed and received an answer that this is another gospel of Jesus Christ.

- Gustavo: He`s a 15 year old boy that I contacted, turns out his dad is a member.  He wants to get baptized.  We taught him about the restoration and we left him with the pamphlet and told him he needed to pray about it.  He told us in the next appointment that he did it and he felt something beautiful when he asked God!

- Jorge: It`s a 9 year old whose parents are less actives, he`s been to church several times now, he has a lot of friends in church too.

- Pedro: ....haha...Pedro... He`s a drunk we invited to church and it turns out he came, yesterday was his second time...  So I guess we should actually teach him!

Things are going great, we are going to have an activity on the 8th of March to teach all of the members how they can be missionaries.  On the 9th I`ll be giving a talk.  It`ll probably be my last one as a missionary...that was what the bishop told me haha.

I`m very happy and content with the work!  I`m loving it!

Elder Willden

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elder Willden's Release Date is . . . .

Big Announcement!  Elder Willden is headed home on . . . 

May 1st - Hurrah for us! 

24 February 2014

Letter to All:

Nathali got baptized!!  Woooh!  It was a great baptism, it was very reverent and peaceful, with a steady feeling of the spirit.  She was so excited for her baptism.  I know she`ll remember this moment always!  The sisters in the ward baptized as well. (Not sure what Elder Willden means.)

Sunday, two investigators came to church, Jorge and Wilmer.  Both of them are very positive and they loved church.  I`m sure they´ll get baptized in March!

Things are going well, the only problem we are having is that it´s hard to take care of so many people at the same time, we need to focus more on those who are more positive.  We need a better balance. I know that the Lord has many blessing in store for us, because we are putting forth all of our might!

Yesterday we had a great lesson with the Bishop on the atonement, we read in Alma 7.  We gained his trust and he asked us to give a talk in March.

Take care!

Elder Willden

Elder Willden wrote a sweet note to his mom this week:  So the other day I was thinking.  Every time I give my dirty clothes to the sister in the ward I feel bad for them because I know it´s a lot of work, and they have to wash by hand.  I realized that I should have been a lot more grateful with you because you always washed my clothes!  Thank you so much!  For everything.  I love you!  (Thankfully I never washed clothes by hand!)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

17 February 2014 ~ A Successful Week!

17 February 2014

Letter to All:

Oh man!  This week we worked super hard.  We are finding a lot of new people.  Nathaly is going to get baptized this Saturday!  On the 1st Marta will get baptized!  Things are going great.  

We all get along well, we are all happy and filled with energy to work.  And we come home super tired but content.  The Lord is blessing us for our work and obedience, many hearts are being softened and many people are desirous to learn.  But they still won’t come to church, just Nathaly came.  So we need to focus on getting people to church this week.  My companion talked with Cristian yesterday when he was on divisions.  She still wants to get baptized but the whole wedding thing is a stumbling block.  But I know she´ll get baptized soon.  We have a lot of people with baptismal dates for March.  Hopefully we´ll baptize on my birthday (the 22)!

I´m truly happy, it´s joyous this work of the Lord!  I love it, I´m still learning and growing and working on being better every day.  I want to teach Elder Agustín everything I know, so he can be an excellent worker and missionary.  I know he will.

On Thursday we had a great lesson, it was with Keyler and Karla.  Keyler is a less active and Karla is an investigator.  We sang a hymn and we prayed and I felt the spirit, as we prayed I felt I had to talk about the Holy Ghost, even though we had something else planned.  The lesson was powerful!  But for some reason they still didn´t come to church, but they did get married this weekend so that´s another step towards baptism.

A lot of great things happened this week, but there isn´t enough time to share everything that´s going on.  But things are going great!


Elder Willden

Elder won Monopoly - can you tell?

Monday, February 10, 2014

10 February 2014 ~ A Trio of Elders!

10 February 2014

Letter to all:

Well I have some exciting news, I´m training!  Elder Velásquez had changes and I´m in a trio now with Elder Mann and Elder Agustín (my second son!).  They are great, it´s interesting being in a trio!  Elder Mann works super hard and Elder Agustín is very excited to work.  I love their energy they bring to missionary work.  

We have been working super hard, tons of lessons and tons of contacts.  We contact about 30 people a day and we have about 8 or 9 lessons a day.  It´s going great, I love the hard work.  We have found new positive people and 2 people are getting close to baptism. 

Marta and Nathaly came to church, as well as 3 others.  Nathaly will be baptized on the 22 and maybe Marta, we´ll see.  Cristian is in the same rut with the whole marriage thing.  We haven´t visited Carlos and Jackalin.

In this week we read 2 Nephi 32 to many people, specifically verses 3, 5 and 9.  They talk about what we should do to have direction in our lives and that prayer scripture study and the sacrament are key.  

 aAngels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, bfeast upon the cwords of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will dtell you all things what ye should do.

 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will ashow unto you all things what ye should do.

 But behold, I say unto you that ye must apray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall bpray unto the Father in the cname of Christ, that he will dconsecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the ewelfare of thy soul.

We are preparing many people to get baptized in March, I hope to have a lot of baptisms on my birthday, because it´s a Saturday, that´d be a great gift!

Well, I´ll let you know how next weeks go!

Elder Willden

A Good Week for Elder Willden

3 February 2014

Letter to All:

Well sorry time is short...

This week was great.  2 days this week we had to go to Managua but the rest of the days went well and we had success.  We have 2 new investigators that´ll get baptized this month.  Marta, she fell in love with a member and they got married in 2 or 3 weeks!  It was insane almost!  But she has a strong desire to learn and to get baptized. She has a baptism goal for February 22.  Also a less active family decided they want to be active now.  They have a daughter named Nathaly who´s 9 and she wants to get baptized, so she´ll be a little present for us ha-ha!

Elder Carlos H Amado came to visit the mission.  We were able to listen to him for about 4 hours, he asked questions and we asked him questions and it was completely led by the spirit.  It was great, I was truly fed.  He talked about a lot of things, the language of the mission as well as the language of the spirit.  He talked about the importance of having a constant prayer in your heart 24 hours a day.  He also talked about eternal marriage because it was the oldest group of missionaries he taught.  I learned a lot, but there is little time to share, sorry.

But it was a good week, God has blessed us!

Elder Willden

Elder Willden's Zone - look at all the sisters!  Elder Willden is in the back and the tallest, of course. 

Elder Bear