Monday, March 26, 2012

Leadership Training, Miracles, and Prayer

Hey yall!
This past week has been amazing. I actually attended a Leadership Training for about 40+ Elders and Sisters throughout the mission this past week. It was pretty much an all week thing. From Tuesday through Friday I received awesome training from my mission president and his wife, the AP's, and a few other people. Basically, it was a super amazing missionary pump up. In the evenings, we stayed in different areas and were able to apply and put into practice the things we learned that day. If there is one thing my mission has taught me it's that miracles occur every day. So much happened I don't know what to write about.
Yesterday was a SUPER good day for teaching. We found and taught another family and they are super awesome! The parents are from Nigeria and they are super religious and loved the message of the Restoration. They committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and we'll be seeing them again this week! Yup, the work moves on.

Prayers are always answered. There will never be a time when a prayer goes unanswered. I have seen my prayers be answered time and time again.
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)
I could quote countless scriptures that state the power and promise of prayer. As any loving parent desires, so does our Beloved Father in Heaven desire to hear from us. To hear about our day, our concerns, our joys, our questions, our desires. He gives to all men FREELY and doesn't hold back. The key is to be looking for the answer. If we don't pray with faith, and strive to discern the response from Him, we won't hear, or rather, we won't see His answer. But it is there. Prayer is one of the most basic, fundamental principles that everyone THINKS they understand, but in all actuality, they have barely scratched the surface. Prayer isn't one-way communication. He answers back! It's not always immediate, but it comes! Don't be so imperfectly quick to give up on the One perfect Being that actually always listens and answers. Trust in Him. He's knows better than YOU! As Elder Uchtdorf stated, "Compared to God we are nothing, but to Him we are everything." As stated earlier, the key is to be looking for the answer. In conclusion, I would quote the movie, A Man for All Seasons, "Pray by all means. But in addition to prayer there is effort."

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Warm and Humid...

Hey hey hey!
It is very warm and very humid here. The dang cool and dry climate of Montana has taken away my tolerance for the hot and humid climate of the east coast. I see that tomorrow is the "First day of Spring". HA! We've jumped right into summer. No wonder everybody slams their doors on us. I would to if I saw two extremely sweaty men walking up to me. But anyway I'm getting distracted. Despite the hardships of missionary life, there is much joy in the fact that in Colonial Heights is located the largest Arbys in the world. Yup. Why they chose Colonial Heights for their location I have not a clue but there must be a higher purpose for it...namely, my stomach. This is not your regular Arbys either. It has a section that is extremely similar to a Chipoltle (but in my most HUMBLE opinion is far better than Chipoltle), and they have many many more items of their menu that isn't regular fast food. This place is a really nice restaurant. Yeah, I'm spoiled.
So, remember that family that we were able to baptize? The father just received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! It. Was. AWESOME! Plus he said the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting and it. Was. AWESOME! It's been an amazing time here in Colonial Heights. The work is moving forward!
In my personal studies, I was reading a parable that Christ gave. It goes as follows:
Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house...said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:16-24)
This is the Parable of the Great Supper and there is much to learn from it. God is the "master of the house" and the Church (or Israel) are those who were first bidden to Supper (Eternal Life). We are privileged to be the first to be bidden to sup, or rather, to have a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be members of the True and Restored Church of Christ. Yet, far too many times we let our priorities get mixed up. Notice the responses of each of those who were invited, (1)"I have bought property", (2) "I have posessions" (3)"I have family to take car of". There is nothing wrong with these activities or desires and we aren't sinning when we do such things, however, we do mistake if we think that these things can at anytime take precedence over God's commandments. We are commanded to put God FIRST. We are commanded to put aside our personal interests and first concentrate on the Lord. How many times do we place our own personal desires in front of God's desires and commands? How many times do we justify and rationalize our recognized sins with "Doing it on Sunday is ok because we're doing it as a family." or "I can't pay tithing because I won't be able to get what I want. God wants me to be happy so He'll be ok with it this one time." We are to follow the commandments of God with EXACTNESS (see Alma 57:21). Christ is knocking on our doors, and He will only knock once. If we don't answer, "none of those...which were bidden shall taste of my supper." We are representatives of Christ. We took upon us His name when we were baptized. With such comes the sacred obligation to do all that He has done. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The FIRST Epistle of the Elders to the Dead Letter Writers

Elder Smith sent the following EPISTLE - to the DEAD LETTER WRITERS and this message:
This is just a couple great verses that speak much truth.  Read them, ponder them, then spread them abroad, I pray thee...with up raised voice ...proclaiming these things with the SOUND OF A TRUMP! (smile)

Chapter 1
In the beginning was the mailbox and the mailbox was void of letters.
2 And the missionaries said, "Let the box be filled," and the box was not filled.
3 And the missionaries beheld the continuing void and were not pleased.
4 And lo, it was the first day of the week and there was no mail delivered, but this was good.
5 But on the second day was the mail delivered; yet the box remained empty.
6 Yea, even from the second day unto the seventh was the mail delivered.
7 Even so, the box retained its void.
8 And yea, great mists of darkness spread froth from the void and enshrouded the missionaries.  yea, and did bring much sadness to their otherwise cheery days.
9 Even the long hours of fruitless tracting, being attacked by the fowls of the air, and being pursued by the beasts of the field were not as disheartening as  the lack of blessed objects known as letter.
10 Yet  they persisted.


And, Lo, on the second day of the second week the mists still encircled the mailbox.
2 And on the third day, from within the depths of the void was a single postcard.
3 And this postcard put forth a ray of light that pierced the darkness and overcame the mists.
4 And the missionaries were well pleased, and there was much rejoicing.
5 But, alas, their exclamations of joy were in vain. For the postcard was for someone else.
6 But if their joy was else's mail, how great would be their joy at partaking of their own mail?


But some will say, A letter.  A letter. We have already written a letter.  We have no need to write any more letters.
2 Know ye not that there are more days than one, and more events than one in a day? Why think ye that these events need not be reported?
3 Yea, and ye need not worry that your letters will go unanswered.
4 But you should say, I will go and write the letter that a missionary requests.  For I know that he giveth no requests except he be prepared to speedily respond.
5 And we give unto you the parable of the self-addressed envelopes.
6 When the missionary departed into the far off land he gave a certain number of self-addressed stamped envelopes to his friends.
7 Unto one he gave five, unto another he gave two, and unto the third he gave one.
8 And while he was gone, he that was given the five envelopes wrote five letters, then in his zeal wrote five letters more.
9 The same with him that had two envelopes; He wrote two letters and then two letters more.
10 But he that was given the one self-addressed envelope became slothful and careless. And he lost the envelope, even that which he was given.
11 And when the missionary came home he went unto his friends.  And he that had written ten letters was warmly greeted.
12 The same with him that had written four letters.
13 But he that had written none at all was given nothing more than a fishy, wimp-like handshake.

Chapter 4
And the missionary said unto his friend; lovest thou me?
2 And the friend said, of course I love thee.  Then the missionary said, fill my mailbox.
3 He saith a second time, friend, lovest thou me?  And the friend said, thou knowest that I love thee.  He then said, fill my mailbox.
4 He then spake a third time saying, lovest thou me?  And the friend said, thou knowest that I love thee.
5 Then the missionary said, stuff my mailbox.
6 And the vision is become unto all as the words of a letter that is sealed in the envelope that men deliver to one who is not serving a mission saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannnot, for it is not mine.
7 And the letter is delivered to him that is serving a mission saying, read this I pray thee; and he saith, why sure.
8 Therefore you should proceed to do a marvelous work for a missionary, even a marvelous work and a wonder by writing a letter.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Does Time Fly?

I honestly can't believe that a week has already flown by. I can't believe that I've been gone for 2 1/2 months! Crazy...Well, this past week has been a good one. We're still seeing the son of the baptism minister and it's :D The work is moving forward and I'm loving every step of the way. Yes, I'm still in Colonial Heights. I survived the transfer. However, we did get a scare. So, transfer day is on Thursday in my mission and we get notified the Sunday previous. The Assistant to the President call those who will be transferred, so if you see on the phone that the APs are calling either you or your companion are leaving. Well, we were sitting in our apartment and we got the call. I was in the bathroom when I heard the phone ring and when I heard Elder Bradfield say, "Oh no! It's Elder Wheelock!" I came running out of there. Elder Bradfield picked up the phone with trembling hands and proceeded to talk with him.
- Bradfield, "Hello, this is Elder Bradfield."
- Wheelock, "Elder Bradfield! How are you?"
- Bradfield, "I'm doing fine, I guess, how are you?"
- Wheelock, "I'm doing great! So guess what?"
- Bradfield, "...what?..."
- Wheelock, "I called the wrong number!"
Yeah...we got scared for nothing. After we got over the initial shock we just lost it and couldn't stop laughing. Yeah...good times.

Next item of business: know my stance on that...So I'll move on.

This church is absolutely true. I'll let Elder Holland take it from here:

Elder Hyrum Smith

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Valentine Day Cookies!

I received a few pictures from
"Elder Smith" this past week...Waiting to hear
directions from him as to which ones
he wants posted...
but, I couldn't resist this picture!

His companion, Elder Bradfield's family, 
sent these awesome
Valentine cookies!

 "...of ONE HEART and ONE MIND..."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Best "6" Weeks EVER!

Well everyone,
My first transfer period is over. I have been out in the field for 6 weeks and has been great. I'm halfway over with my "Greenie" phase. After 3 months in the field (I'm halfway through) a missionary is no longer known as a "Greenie". I can't wait till I lose that title....ANYWAY. This has been a super fantastic week. Guess what? We had our first baptism. A family of four that we have been teaching was baptized last Saturday and confirmed yesterday. As a bonus, the father stood up and bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was POWERFUL. Words cannot describe how much joy one receives when they are the one privileged to help someone into the waters of baptism. There is nothing more satisfying than missionary work. EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT!

Other than that, there are no stories that I can tell that will be interesting to yall other than the fact that we are currently teaching someone who is the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. Yup *devilish grin*. He knows his scriptures well but at least he's open to the message. He even said he felt the spirit when he was reading the Book of Mormon. We're off to a good start.

The weather here has been really weird. We go through a week of warm, somewhat humid weather snows...yeah. It's pretty crazy here in Virginia.
At our last stake conference (which was a broadcast) we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve (his nephew is our Stake President by the way). He spoke on the sanctity of womanhood and of how important and precious God's daughters are to Him. I would like to echo his words.
We have been told countless times that woman is God's supreme creation. She was saved to be the climactic end of the creation of the world. It wasn't until after the God placed all the animals and plants on the earth, it wasn't until after he placed man on the earth, did he place his crowning achievement: woman. Women have such a supreme and divine nature of which is a huge part of their divine role. You're divine nature is one of gentleness and nurturing. The supreme role of womanhood is motherhood, to help nurture and care for those around you, and to help soothe the coarseness and roughness of the world of men. Satan has unleashed a powerful campaign against the sanctity of womanhood. The world today would have you stoop to the level of men with the empty promise of "equality". Why would you step down from your exalted station in an effort to be "equal" with men? The world has taught that the only thing that is attractive, and therefore, the only that is important about women are the natural physical features that they are endowed with. Do not be deceived. Your importance and beauty comes from deep within you. Do not waste such precious and divine gifts. Do not flaunt and degrade yourself by attempting to appeal to the wicked lusts of the world. You will not gain the respect and honor you deserve from men, unless you respect and honor yourself. Don't settle for what the world will give you: Nothing.
Men: treat every daughter of God around with respect and love. Encourage every woman, whether it be wife, sister, daughter, mother, in her divine role and worth. We are nothing without them. They bring out our better halves and help us rise above our natural, carnal selves.
Pleasure is often mistaken for happiness. "The present is an age of pleasure-seeking, and men [and women] are losing their sanity in the mad rush for sensations that do but excite and disappoint. In this day of counterfeits, adulterations, and base imitations, the devil is busier than he has ever been in the course of human history, in the manufacture of pleasures, both old and new; and these he offers for sale in the most attractive fashion, falsely labeled, Happiness. In this soul-destroying craft he is without peer; he has had centuries of experience and practice, and by his skill he controls the market. He has learned the tricks of the trade, and knows well how to catch the eye and arouse the desire of his customers. He puts up the stuff in bright-colored packages, tied with tinsel string and tassel; and crowds flock to his bargain counters, hustling and crushing one another in their frenzy to buy. Follow one of the purchasers as he goes off gloatingly with his gaudy packet, and watch him as he opens it...He has expected fragrant happiness, but uncovers only an inferior brand of pleasure, the stench of which is nauseating.
Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction.
True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, which, like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish." (James E. Talmage)
Pleasure is what the world offers, happiness is what God offers.

Elder Hyrum Smith