Monday, September 25, 2017

Week One Hundred-Two: It Is Finished.

Dear Beloved Everyone,

This is the last email from Elder D. Joseph Wilcken while in Zimbabwe Harare Mission. By this time next week I will be home.

I have loved this time so much. There is nothing I would trade these last two years for. It has been a wonderful blessing in my life and I cannot wait for my "next assignment". I know that God our Heavenly Father lives and loves us. I have felt a small portion of his love for the people of Zimbabwe. I love this land and this people so much. My heart mourns for their trials but I know God is mindful of them.

I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That he lived, walked with men, and died for each individual. I know that He rose again and stands in power and glory at the right hand of the Father, and that he leads His Church through divine revelation. I know that his chosen prophets and apostles know Him and lead us in His way. I know that Joseph Smith was the chosen prophet to restore truth to the earth in these Last days.

I know these things to be true through the Power of the Holy Ghost. I have spent two years learning to recognize His gentle guidance in my life. I know that he is as real as the Father and the Son, and that unitedly they stand supreme.

I love you all, I love this work. My two-year mission in a foreign land is over, but my work for the Lord never will be.

"I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end." - Moroni 8:3

"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." - 2 John 1:12

I say these things as a servant of God, in the name of His Holy Child, Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Elder D. Joseph Wilcken
Zimbabwe Harare Mission
October 2015 - September 2017

Week One Hundred-One: Special Treatment

When you are an assistant to the mission president, people look out for you.
My heart-felt thanks go out to the missionaries who set up the lunch tables for the zone conference in Gweru, so that we didn't need to. They even reserved us seats.

Dear Everyone,
This last week was a good one. We found some good people to teach, and we traveled to Gweru for their Zone Conference. This was the last Zone Conference that I attended as a Missionary of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission.

And the drive was pleasant both ways!

Today I got my last haircut in Zimbabwe, from my favorite Barber; Misheck.

This man has cut my hair since around February 2016.

And also, the broken Piston award has had some excitement. It no longer is "Stay till someone else gets it" because silly mistakes sometimes happen close together.

But on a more serious note, I have loved being in Zimbabwe so much. I love this place and the people too. I wouldn't trade these last two years for anything. I know that I have been serving the Living God and been on His errand. I know that Heavenly Father is real, and that his Son Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and that He too lives, and stands at the right hand of His Father. I know that through the Holy Ghost all humble seekers of truth can find what they search for.

I love you all, have a glorious week.
-Elder Wilcken

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Week One Hundred: Abraham and Isaac

The Lord promised Abraham he would have great posterity. That through his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. In his old age he had his son Isaac. And then, he was told to sacrifice him. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Dear everyone,

This week we had MLC and Zone conference, and things didn't always go as planned but it was still good.
We taught as we could, even had exchanges with the Zone leaders of Mutare.

And then Sunday was our Ward Conference, and we saw so many faces we had never seen before. So many returning members, only none of our investigators came.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord, for he has been merciful and kind to us. And despite the difficulty, we still have found more investigators and those we are teaching still all want to be baptized. And what more, the rest of our district and zone are continuing to find miracles.

I love you all, and I really hope you have a wonderful week.
Much Love,
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-Nine: Starting Off On a Great Note

Dearest family and friends,

I am so excited about this month. For the mission, under the guidance and assistance of the Lord, is doing wonders. We are seeing miracles before our eyes.

Last week I went on exchanges with Elder Bollinger from the Marimba Zone. We had a wonderful time and found many people to teach. But at the end of the day, he shared with me his experience about fasting for our investigators to come to church and testified that it brings miracles.

So yesterday, as it was fast Sunday, we fasted. And the miracles have not ceased. That morning, before church started we got a phone call from an individual that Elder Bollinger and I had contacted, informing us that he wanted to come to church but needed to find transport.
Instead of our average <4 investigators attending sacrament meeting, we had 8. But the real amazing thing happened for the other congregation that meets after us. They had 16 Investigators attending sacrament meeting.

And this week was the last week for investigators to start attending to be baptized this month. In our mission, we require church attendance for 3 Sundays before individuals can be baptized. So with these individuals, and those who have attended before, we have possibilty to achieve our goal of baptisms this month. In fact, most of the missionaries are super confident that they can achieve and even "smash" their goals this month. All with help from the Lord.

"I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?"

And lastly, I will tell you of our "miracle family", they are truly wonderful. We met them last Sunday, and they loved our message. We went back to teach them on Tuesday, and they had invited 3 more individuals to join the lesson, so we taught 9 people. The family of 5 and their friend all accepted baptismal dates for the 23rd of September. They had us come back again on Thursday, and then they came to church (minus the friend) on sunday, and enjoyed. They stayed for the Baptism of the Penyai child, and the Mama described it as "Beautiful".

So things are looking up. The Lord is merciful and kind. And he certainly is "merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end."

I will send pictures later because I forgot my camera at home this morning.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-Eight: The Best 30 Days

That's what this next month is gonna be, just you wait.

Dear everyone,
I am doing so well. Like literally, you should be worried. I may get translated.
Just kidding, I have way too much work to do.

This last week we had some amazing things happen. The most amazing was that we had a General Auxiliary Leadership visit. Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President and member of the Missionary Executive Committee visited Zimbabwe with her husband and Elder Koch of the Area Presidency with his wife. They had a missionary devotional for an hour and a half and got to meet with us and shake our hands.
It was a wonderful experience and we learned a lot from it. I however didn't get to focus as much as I wanted as we had to organize roaming microphones that weren't working, and I also got to pass the microphone around as missionaries answered questions.

On Saturday the Priesthood holders of Mbare 1st Ward got together to finish painting gutters at a clinic, for a service project.

And on Sunday, probably the greatest thing, Brother Penyai got confirmed, and then after church we went over to their house and they introduced us to their neighbors. A family of 5, who also had a friend over. We taught them the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon, and they loved it. All 6 of them accepted a baptismal date of the 23rd of September, so hopefully, if they can make it to church, I can see them Baptized before I go. We will teach them again on Tuesday and so we will see how it goes.

This next Sunday we are expecting to baptize the Penyai child, as he wasn't yet ready yesterday.

The work is good, the work is progressing. This last month I am going to put my all into serving. No slowing down for me, for I know this isn't my work. I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of his Children, and that he has again put forth his hand to gather scattered Israel. Scattered Israel is here to be found in Zimbabwe. I know that Christ lives and that he loves us. I know this because of the Holy Ghost's teachings to me.

I love you all, I wish you the best this week.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-Seven: The Last "Transfer Week"

Hello my dearest everyone,

This week was the last "Transfer week" that I need to deal with. In that, next "transfer week" I will be no longer on the administrative end.

It was a chaotic week, but we pushed through and we got to the other end mostly unscathed. The new missionaries came into the mission, and honestly, nothing brings me more joy than to see new missionaries full of the spirit of the MTC. They are so fresh, so eager, so much better than seeing missionaries who just want to go home. In fact, just this morning, I asked one of them how their first week in Zimbabwe was, and they said it was wonderful and that they "never want to go home."

This is what missionaries should be like. This is why things are wonderful in Zimbabwe.

We didn't have much time to do anything spectacular this week. Aside from swapping around missionaries. But this week will be much more quiet so all should be spectacular. We potentially have the baptism of one of the Penyai boys this Sunday, so we are praying for that.

I know that this work is the Lord's work. Despite all the trials that we face, all will be for our good. Perhaps the words of the Prophets can help me to finish this email on a good note.
"Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever... I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

I love you all, I hope you have the best week possible.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-Six: Transfer 17/17

Dearest all.
Here is the knowledge that you seek this week.
I am happy, I am healthy, and and I am not trunky.

Also two of the three that were baptized last week got confirmed. So that was pleasant.

The work is progressing, the mission is on fire. Only good fire.
I love you all and I would write more except that today is chaotic.

Have a wonderful week.
-Elder Wilcken