Email #34–written April 25, 2016

Today is COLD! I am ready for the desert summer! I am glad this is in writing, so when it is 110 degrees, and I am complaining about that, you can call me out on it!

Folks, it was a great week. I am just so humbled by these people! They are incredibly kind. Fun fact, I ripped my pants getting into the car the other day, and we were with a member. He did not skip a beat, just said, “Don’t worry, my wife fix them”. It did not really help the rest of the day, but I really appreciated him and his kindness.

We have taught the same people this week as last week, and everything is going very well. Sia will most likely be baptized on May 7th! we are so excited!

Sorry this is a short letter! Hope you all have a great week!

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Email #33–written April 18, 2016

Well hello everybody!

Alright, so this past week was probably one of the happiest weeks of my whole mission! I am so blessed to be serving in the Tongan ward, and have just been so amazed by the love these people have!

I guess I can just share some of the cool experiences we had this week:

1) well, we also cover the victorville parkview ward, which is just a normal ward. We have a super cool investigator named Britta: she is 76, and just the sweetest old lady. We taught her all about the structure of the church: A prophet, 12 apostles, and just how in general we don’t have a paid clergy. She cried! Sweetest woman ever, she introduced us to her garbage man, and said, “you know, you should talk to these young men. I know you are Catholic, but what they say… its good stuff. and its working!” Britta is super excited about being baptized, but she has a lot of trouble with sleeping, and says that she does not have the energy to come to church yet. She is a sharp lady! She knows the bible way better than I do!

2) SIA! Sia is the coolest! She just moved from Tonga like a month ago, and so she knows like ZERO english. We have “taught” her 3 lessons so far, which literally means we say an opening prayer, and the ward mission leader and a ward missionary teaches the lessons in Tongan. It is one of the coolest things! The spirit is just so strong in those lessons, even when I often have no idea what is being said. But Yesterday, she agreed to be Baptized, and without really even knowing what was being said, as soon as she said yes, Elder Shumway and I just looked at each other and smiled! We knew what she had just committed to, and it was awesome!

Beyond that, we have just seen so many miracles. We have taught plenty of lessons, and had a lot of opportunities to teach and testify here in Victorville. I love it!

It is so amazing to me everyday just how when we apply the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, we are blessed and happy. Being with these humble people, many of who have little money and not the greatest living situations, but who just radiate so much light and happiness has taught me so much. I KNOW that the principles we teach people bring so much happiness! How easy it is to share that with those we meet.

I am grateful to be a missionary. I am happy, and I know that this church is true. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, I love talking about Him so much. Its so perfect.

I hope you all have a great week! Pictures next week, I promise!

Email #32–written April 11, 2016

Subject heading: Transferred, Tongan and….

I couldn’t think of anything else that begins with ‘T’… BUT I am back in the Desert, in a town called Victorville! I am so excited, and to top it all off, I am in a Tongan ward! Seriously, I could not be more excited!

Yesterday was my last Sunday in Upland, and it was pretty sad to leave. I have come to love the people of Upland!

I don’t have much again to report on this week, just that I am really really excited! I will have a much more exciting email next week!

Email #31–written March 30, 2016

Hello Friends!

Good/ hard week! My companion has been pretty sick this week, so let’s just say our apartment is REALLY clean, he is well-rested, and I am a little stir crazy!

Today we were able to go to the temple again, literally the best! I love it.

All of the people we are working with are still doing well. I will keep you updated. Plus I will be emailing again on Monday, so see ya then!

Have a good week!

Email #30–written March 14, 2016

Well if you were at all wondering what my subject is about, we were able to see ELDER BEDNAR (of the quorum of the 12 apostle, if that doesn’t make sense: https://www.lds.org/church/leaders/quorum-of-the-twelve-apostles?lang=eng ) not once, but TWICE in the past two days.
One of which was a special missionary meeting, in which the whole mission got together to hear from him. So basically It was the greatest thing ever. and the meeting was so cool. It was three hours, it felt like 5 minutes, and he just sort of opened it up to us. We were assigned three talks by him to study and so he allowed us to just talk about what we learned, and then he would teach us based on what we had discussed, it was so cool!
BUT GET THIS! We go to church Yesterday, and during Sacrament meeting, guess who shows up AGAIN? ELDER BEDNAR! WHAT! what are the chances? I was able to see him twice and that was super cool.

Okay, well one update that I can give is on A____! We has a great lesson with him last night. We were on splits, because we had two lessons, so I went with a guy in the ward, Brother P____, and Elder Redhair (for those of you curious, yes my companion’s last name is literally ‘Redhair’) went with a guy named Brother H___.
Teaching A___ is TOO easy, he has all of these amazing questions and just wants to be better. The Spirit was strong as Brother P____ bore testimony of the church, and I had an impression to ask him, “I know this sounds weird, but, A___ what are you thinking?” He says, “I am thinking that this is right. and that I like this stuff. I don’t know. I was telling my wife, I am not sure what to expect, but I want to move forward.”
Does that stuff even happen?! It was super cool, A___ is feeling the Spirit!

Yesterday was K__ birthday, and so Elder Redhair and I had a gift for him. He was so touched that we remembered, he is a great guy. He hasn’t smoked in a couple of days… the longest he has been since he was 12 years old. So much fun to watch him become just HAPPY.

Well life is good here! Hope you all are doing well!

-Elder Wilhelm

Email #29–written March 7, 2016

I am going to really quickly go through all of the people that we are working with, so then when I talk about them later in the upcoming weeks, you will know exactly who I am talking about, and you can just reference this email. Sound good? K!

So, as far as investigators (people who are not members of the church, we are working with:

J__ and B___:
They are sweet, J was raised Catholic, B___ was Seventh day-adventist. He is a ______ LA county, so you can imagine, his biceps are huge, but he is a super cool guy. They have 3 kids of their own, and they are fostering to adopt a 9 month old little girl (Mom, you would freak if you saw this smiley little girl, she NEVER cries) who is the daughter of a family member in a bad situation. Literally GREAT people. They recognize that there is probably one true church on the earth, and we are helping them find out what God’s church would be like. We have had a few appointments with them, we found them tracting! crazy, huh?

A___:
Another tracting success story! A___ is an RN, his wife is a teacher. They have two little girls, one is 2, the other is 4 months. They are neighobors with a member of our church. So get this, we knock on their door, and they had already been to our church like 3 times. NEVER happens. We have taught the restoration to them, and then taught just about the Book of Mormon, and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have a lesson with him this Sunday.

B___ B___:
B____ is seriously the coolest kid. He is in high school, his mom is a member of the church. She does not come very often, but she has always wanted B___ to get into coming to church himself. He plays the trumpet, and drives a 64 mustang that his dad restored.

We also have a lot of work with Less-active families:

G____:
G____ is adopted into the M___ family… like the famous church ones. He is a great man, he has been living with his girlfriend for 14 years, and GUESS WHAT, they are getting married on April Fool’s day! We are so impressed by him, he has not been active in the church his whole life, and he is really trying hard to change what he has been doing in his life. We love watching his progress.

K___ J____:
K___ was a long-lost member who was found by tracting. He has had a really rough life: has been smoking and drinking since he was 11, and then he was a drug runner for 10 years. He turned his life around, but has been struggling ever since he got out of the drug scene. We are helping him quit smoking. He has come to church with us every Sunday for as long as I have been here, and we have just watched Ken become happier and happier! It is the greatest blessing.

Those are some of the major ones, I may add some more next week!

Other than that, lets talk about this past week. Saturday I had the chance to go on exchanges, and spend the day BACK in Upland 2nd ward: The ward I was in for 4.5 months before I came to Upland 3rd ward! Get this: I slept in my old bed, studied at my old desk, had the same companion. I mean, you NEVER get chances like this! It was totally surreal. I am not sure if you all remember, but before I was transferred, we were working a lot with the Less-Active family, the W___. They are the coolest, they were trying so hard to set things right. Well, I had the chance to go back and teach them one more time, and holy moses, what a joyful reunion! It was amazing to see them again, and we were just stoked. I was able to see that they were still working hard to go to church, to read and to make it back to the temple. I felt like like Alma when he was reunited with the Sons of Mosiah! There is NOTHING better than finding out that people you love so much are still happy and still “brethren in the Lord”. I mean, that is Joy people!

We are a happy bunch of missionaries in the Upland zone, it is a pleasure to serve here. I hope you all have a perfect week!

Love,
Elder Wilhelm

Email #28–written Feb 29, 2016

I think I start all of these emails almost exactly the same way, so I will try and do better! ha.

SUCH A GOOD WEEK! It was seriously the best! We did so much tracting that my hands hurt! We volunteered at a thrift store that is non-profit for a family food shelter around here, and that was a lot of fun. We are doing everything we can to just become integrated into the community, and I would say its working!

We had another lesson with Alex, the guy we met on exchanges. We brought a member with us, and the lesson went really well! Its cool to meet with people who just have such a sincere desire to change. The gospel helps with that!

I am a very happy guy! I will have a much better weekly email next week. Promise.

Have a great week!