Monday, May 30, 2016

Week Thirty-Five: Such is Life

Hello my loved ones,

Things this week are well. However as I am typing this there is not a lot I can remember.

The sun in Bindura is hot still, but the temperature continues to decline. There are days I want to wear a coat, but haven't yet.

The Bindura Zone is doing well. This week there were 3 different companionship hosting baptisms. It was wonderful. Though as zone leaders we attended all of them, and as the only one with a car we also had to drive to other chapels looking for extra baptismal clothes. So it was slightly chaotic.

The picture, though slightly blurry, is of the Woodbrook District. All 3 companionship were white-washing. All 6 of us are new to the areas this transfer. And yet things are going well still.

Elder Chibanda and I are doing well. Unfortunately, one of those we were going to baptize got a job offer in Harare, to leave the day we were going to baptize her. But ah well, such is life. But fortunately the Brother we are going to baptize on the 4th is still eager and strong.
Today we are planning on going on a hike. Which hopefully will be super fun.

Have a wonderful week. May the Lord bless you all.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirty-Four: Sunburns in Winter

Hello Loved ones,
Let me first start by saying I love it here in Bindura. I missed it an I'm glad to be back.

Now let me say ouch.

Not really. The sunburn isn't that bad. Anymore. I naturally thought winter meant don't worry about sunscreen. I mean I need 3 blankets to sleep at night. I've worn a jacket. It is cold and winter.

So the first picture is from last Monday when our district went to hang at a suspension bridge.

Luckily we didn't need to hang on for our lives. If you look closely you can see holes in the bridge.

The second picture was taken just yesterday. See the difference in how dark I am. It is easier to tell in person.

Anyway the work has been good. I've absolutely loved working with Elder Chibanda. We have investigators progressing towards baptism, and we are walking a lot.

We are having fun and working hard. It is all going very well thus far.

There isn't much to report on, things are going well. The field is dusty, but still already to harvest.
I learned how to harvest beans, then ate said beans at a member's house. And It was good.

In any case, I still know that my Heavenly Father Loves me. And even more so know I know I love Him. I've enjoyed so much working with and serving His children. I am so happy to have the opportunity to "feed his sheep."

I love you all so much, Have a great week.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirty-Three: Back in Bindura

Hello My loved ones,
Just so you all know, for at least the next 5 weeks, my preparation day will be Monday, so that is when I'll get to email.
But in other news, I am again in Bindura! For those who don't remember, I started my mission in the Bindura Zone. And now I'm back as a Zone Leader. My new companion is Elder Chibanda, and we are "white-washing". Meaning we are both new in the area at the same time. However he was once here as well. He was serving in Woodbrook Branch just like I was, only a year ago instead of a few months.
Oh, and Elder Chibanda is just awesome. He is a great guy, a joker, but not about missionary work. He is super fun and hard-working.

It has been so wonderful to see everyone I used to know. They all remembered me and were so excited. It's so amazing to see how much you can change someone's life.
And we have been working. It has been great. We have a car as zone leaders (I'm the designated driver), but we only drive it to our area and then park it. And then we walk, and walk, and meet people, and walk. It is great. Also, I am super tan again, after just one week. Even though it is winter here and very cold in the shade, the sun is still so hot. It is so strange that I can be super hot and tanning, but then step into shade and be cold. Even at night, I've had to use 2 blankets. The mornings before the sun is up are really chilly.
In general it is just great. I love it hear. I've been able to refocus on missionary work, and I've been able to teach and testify again.
Life is good. The work of the Lord is good. I am happy.
I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors this week.
Love you all,
-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirty-Two: Transfers, Changes, and Busy-ness

Hello Everyone that I care for (that includes you),

This week has been very busy. Last Sunday we scheduled a few teaching appointments throughout the week. But then surprise, this week had chaos explode in the office and we had to postpone all of them continually. It kind of sucked, but it's okay. The people understand. I've been on exchanges with Elder Mativavarira while my companion has been with Elder Gundani all week. So I've been learning Fleets and he has been learning Flats.

The were many sad things, many terrible things, but also many fun things and all is well now.

Much to my surprise though, I had a great experience with Elder Mativavarira in teaching. We never really got along in the office, but this week that changed completely. We were forced to spend time together and we started getting along well, making jokes, running errands, I learned that car batteries have liquid in them (who knew?). It was all much fun. Then on Friday, President gets a call from some sister missionaries who were told to go to the District Administrator of their town to explain what they are doing and prove they are not political.

So President told Elder Mativavarira and I, "You need to go and help them out" so we went. We met with the DA and found ourselves in a room with the Lady behind the Desk, and 4 others taking notes. We then had to explain what our missionaries do, why they do it, what we teach, etc. So we taught the Restoration and Plan of Salvation, explained the mission service, and many other things. It felt like the book/movie "Day of Defense".

They then asked if we had any material and we promised we would be right back with books and Pamphlets. So we went and picked up the Sisters, got some pamphlets and Books of Mormons, and then returned. We then all worked together to introduce the Book of Mormon, the lessons, and set return appointments. It was great. They all were very impressed.

So yeah, teaching still goes on. Though things are busy the Lord provides a way. After the meeting with the DA we then went for lunch and while in the store, I met someone and invited them to take the lessons and visit church. I then saw someone sitting outside, so I gave the sisters my food to hold then I went and sat by him to talk to him. After a few minutes I invited him to church. It was a wonderful experience.

I know our Heavenly Father blesses us in our efforts to serve his Children. I know that he lives and loves us all.

In other news, I am getting transferred from the office for a whole transfer, then I likely will return. But for the next 6 weeks, I will be emailing on Mondays again. So keep that in mind!

Have a great week,
-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirty-One: The Subject is Meaningless

Hello my loved ones,

Not a lot happened this week. Besides three days straight of missionary interviews with president. The three Harare Zones had interviews so we had so many missionaries in the office this week.
And Elder and Sister Peterson have learned their duties so the secretary jobs have been handled well.

However, With a Senior Couple Sister at the front desk, candy is a Guarantee. And since I sit at the desk all the time without walking around, and the candy is always within reach, I've had to enforce some limitations for myself.

It has gotten a few laughs, so that is good.

But one of the cultural differences here is that it is not offensive to say someone is fat. And so one of our beloved investigators, after not seeing them for a couple weeks, told us plainly. "You've both gotten fat." And so naturally we excused ourselves with "It's Sister Peterson's fault for putting candy in the office." and "whenever we are bored the go-to fun thing is to go to the front desk and get a piece of candy."

But there yet is hope for Elder Wilcken, there are whisperings, rumors, and hopes that we may get temporarily released from Office. And put somewhere we can walk again.
the next transfer is 10 May 2016 - 21 June 2016. And the Peterson's leave on 29 June 2016. So with them handling the office, we may be sent to an area for the transfer.

However, it is still unsure. I won't say "which means" because "who says that's what it means."

Elder Shepherd and I took some pictures to give to Auntie Sheila, to put on the "Wall of Fam" that I think I mentioned around the start of this month. This was one of the pictures (not the one we used). It could potentially in the future have a temple in the background. But that is still an unconfirmed rumor.

However this next week people are coming to survey land for the Temple. So it is super exciting to me.

Anyway I hope all is well with you all. May the Lord bless you in all that you do.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Thirty: Let Not Your Heart be Troubled

Hello My loved ones,
This week I'll try to keep the summary really brief.
Elder Shepherd is in Bindura on an emergency exchange. An elder had to come to Harare from Bindura but his companion needed to stay to see some baptisms through. So Elder Shepherd went to be his temporary companion and I was able to spend time with this Elder. Sadly however he returned home honorably with a medical release. So the rest of the week I've been in a tri-panionship with the other office Elders.
Is that brief enough?

Now the rest of this email will be about other things.

It is easy to get discouraged in life. It is so very easy to think there is no point. Or that everything is going wrong. Or to think there is no way you can fix things. Sometimes problems arise and there is nothing we can do but sit and watch. Sometimes we may feel so discouraged that we feel like giving up on whatever it may be.

The scriptures predicted cases of "men's hearts failing them for fear". People "losing heart", getting discouraged, people shutting out others from their lives, people fearing what is to come and losing faith.

The Lord gave us a promise. The promise of his peace.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." - John 14:27

The world does not give this peace. The world may be able to give us temporary calmness and relaxation. But true peace that heals comes from the Lord.
Men's hearts are truly failing them, as has been predicted before the coming of the Lord. But through Him, hearts can be healed. They can be faithful instead of fearing.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that he died for each and everyone of us. His heart was broken so that ours could be healed.
I know that we are not left to wander this world alone and aimlessly. We have a loving father in Heaven who has a plan for each one of us.

"Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end."

I love you all. I testify that our Heavenly Father is real, That Jesus Christ lives, and that they love us all dearly.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Twenty-Nine: Play and Work Hard

Hello my loved ones.
So if you remember, last week I mentioned a large project with Binders. I even mentioned how long they would be all stretched out. It was beautiful.

But then Elder Shepherd thought it would be funny to knock them over like dominoes. But they were too tight together and wouldn't tip. So naturally, I spread them out. And it worked beautifully.

But it was not satisfying enough. Everyone went back to their separate tasks. But it was Thursday, President was out of town. Sister Peterson was taking care of the Mission Secretary responsibilities. My only task was to fill the binders. The only problem was that we didn't have the dividers yet. So I had nothing important to do.

So I did what I felt I needed to do.

And it was worth it. So very worth it.

Don't worry, I told President Mkhabela about this also. He hasn't said anything about it yet, but what is even more important is that same day we completed all of the binders, and got them sorted into zones for distribution. So no harm was done, except that I brightened people's days and looked a bit immature in the process.

And also, what's even better is that Elder Shepherd and I had an amazing lesson with our semi-progressing investigator. We were finally able to see them again after two weeks and we reviewed what we had previously taught, all very smoothly while also reading the Book of Mormon with them. We found out it had also been two weeks since they read, so we threw away our plans of review and read 1 Nephi 11 with them. However as we read, we answered questions, and after the chapter we discussed, and we were able to bring up aspects of the Restoration of the Gospel, the Plan of Salvation, as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So in reading the Book of Mormon, we were able to cover everything we were planning to go over again.

We reminded her and her sister of the invitation to be baptized, and then she responded that she wanted to be but didn't think she was ready yet. Then after a few seconds she corrected herself "No, I am ready". It was wonderful. We were able to re-emphasize the importance of the Book of Mormon to each of them and they are all doing so well.

I know that this gospel changes lives. I know that our Heavenly Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ to redeem and strengthen us. I know that through the Holy Ghost we can each learn this for ourselves. They are three separate and distinct beings but are unified in purpose. I know that we can all learn of our Savior and the plan he has for us by reading the Book of Mormon. I know it to be the word of God.

I love you all, may the Lord bless you in all of your endeavors.
-Elder Wilcken