Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week Fifty-Four: Conference Week

Greetings, One and Everyone,

So to start off, we had a wonderful Missionary Leadership Counsel last week.

We had a reunion with Elder Mahlangu, who is now a fellow zone leader. The other in the picture is Elder Mutasa, who I often worked with in Bindura as a new missionary.

And here is a picture that will be more special when the Temple is built.

Other than that, Conference was wonderful. We only got to watch Saturday Morning, and the two Sunday sessions. But in those, I loved it.

These were some of my favorites.

Saturday AM:
Uchtdorf - O How Great the Plan of Our God!
Hales - “Come, Follow Me” by Practicing Christian Love and Service

Sunday AM:
Nelson - Joy and Spiritual Survival
Ballard - To Whom Shall We Go?
Eyring -  Gratitude on the Sabbath Day

Sunday PM:
Bednar - “If Ye Had Known Me”
Carl B. Cook - Serve
Rasband - Lest Thou Forget
Schmutz - God Shall Wipe Away All Tears
Nattress - No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know

It's hard to pick favorites. And to think, if I got to see the rest the list would be longer.
But really, this was a wonderful General Conference. I loved the themes of forgiveness, Joy, etc. In fact it seemed most of the talks applied closely to the missionary lessons: Restoration of the Gospel, Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have no doubt in my mind that our Prophet and Apostles, and other general authorities, are inspired and lead by God. We are truly lead in this church by righteous men and women.

I love you all, I hope you have a great week. The Lord loves you, and so do I.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Fifty-Three: The Summit

This last week was the middle of my mission. However a Mission Mountain is different than a normal mountain. Once you reach the summit, you still need to climb.

Hello my loved ones,

This week I had decided would set the tone for the rest of my mission. I told myself, If I can work super hard through this week, I can continue to work super hard through the rest of mission. Then something happened.

Monday was Preparation Day. We had to go to the office, email, etc, all the important things. Then I got sick at night.

Tuesday we were called upon to run to the office to pick up money and then to buy Juice for one of the zone conferences that was occuring. At this point I was still sick. We returned to the area for lunch, which I couldn't eat, and then I was told by Sister Mkhabela to go to the clinic in town. Long story short, we spent the entire day in town.

Wednesday was our own zone conference, luckily I was feeling a bit better. But the conference went from 9:30am to 4pm. We left the office around 5pm, got home around 6pm. Then that night we got a call that Elder Mahlangu, our District Leader had an Emergency Transfer to become a Zone Leader in Gweru. So guess what,

Thursday morning we had to take him to the mission office. Then we had to pick up the Elder from Gweru at the Bus at1:30, and take him to his new area. We got back to our area around 3pm.

Friday morning we got another phone call, this time a sister was emergency transferred to Bindura.

So yet again, we had to go to the office to help with transfers.

Saturday and Sunday were the only "quiet" days this last week.

Oh and it was hot. Like really hot, a heatwave was going on. Which also hindered the work because we needed to care for our physical health by drinking fluids and resting in the shade during the hottest times of the day.

So essentially, this last week was a practice week. I'm going to continue to work hard though.
But in other news, the zone conference was super spiritual and great. We learned a lot from one another and our Mission President. They taught us more about finding, teaching, and baptizing, and they re-emphasized the importance of repentance for our converts. To turn from their old ways.
And we took a lot of pictures.

This is our district, as it originally was. And yes, we four elders have matching ties.

Left to right: Sisters Walbeck and Wells, Elders Wilcken, Guajardo, Mahlangu, and Mwetu, and Sisters Park and Richards

This is showing how everyone was in groups taking pictures together.

This is (Right to Left) Myself, Elder Banda, and Elder Nkhonjera.

Elder Nkhonjera is the new District Leader that replaced Elder Mahlangu

These are the Assistants to the President, Elder Robison and Elder Mtetwa.

I am standing up straight in front of them, they are tall.

I have really good balance. I beat Elder Mtetwa in a race with water bottles on our heads.

We walked from the chapel, to the parking lot, to the mission office. And then I walked back.
Otherwise, things are well. Life is good. I am happy. I have a little less than a year left of this wonderful land, and I am going to enjoy every minute of it and serve all I can.

I love you all. I know this is the Lord's work. He has been so mindful of us in this Land. I am happy to be his Missionary.

Have a wonderful week,

-Elder Wilcken

PS. Thoughts and prayers are still loved and appreciated, especially for my zone. We have the same goal as last month of 64 baptisms. And though we achieved only 30 last month, I have super high hopes for this month.

Week Fifty-Two: A Marriage and a Baptism

Hello my lovely family and friends!

This week was the week long awaited, The Madziro family got civilly married, and Baptized!
It almost all fell through when there was a misunderstanding about the marriage certificate, but the Lord answered our prayers and things were resolved.

It was a very small wedding, only a few in attendance.

The Sister Missionaries were there, they assisted with organization, as their Bishop was the one who performed the Marriage

This is just before the kiss. I have a picture of the kiss, but I was unsure if I should send it.

This was a selfie I took.

This is the happy couple with the marriage officer and their certificate.

And this is the entire group at the baptism, just an hour later.

Here is an SDA bus that I saw today that made me chuckle.

What else is there to share?
Oh yeah, today marks the one year until my release date. Saturday is one year from the MTC start date. So this week is the middle of my mission. Do not fear however, I will not stop climbing.
In other news, our zone didn't make the goal. We achieved 30/64 baptisms. Which at first was really disappointing to me, until I learned what the Lord was teaching us. We had been "Expecting miracles" but we slipped into the bad habit of "requiring miracles". The Lord had truly shown us many miracles this month, only they weren't the ones we were desiring, so we were feeling unfaithful. I have since learned humility, and I have been assured that the Lord of the Harvest is in control, and he will raise them up in his time. This month was a month of sanctification. "For tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among us" Even though we didn't even reach half of our goal, the baptisms we missed were all postponed until october, and so many more people have been prepared. If the Lord is willing, we will have great blessings and miracles from him. All things are done in the Lord's time, and we cannot force His hand or counsel Him. I am still very grateful for the efforts of our zone, for they truly have been diligent and faithful servants.
Other than that, things are good. All is well. I am super happy to be here in Zimbabwe. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, I love you all.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Fifty-One: Thoughts and Prayers

Dear loved ones,

This week has been amazing. Many miracles have been found and the Lord has been thanked, but we are in need of more.

For our own area, we have the wonderful excitement of a marriage and baptism this upcoming week! We have the Madzira's getting married in court on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then the Baptism of them, their daughters, and another wonderful elderly lady this Saturday.

As for the rest of our zone, of our goal of 64, so far we have 15 converts baptized and confirmed. And now we have 49 needed for this weekend to reach our goal. Companionships have a lot planned for this weekend, but because of transfers, and areas being changed, the goals have decreased. The Assistants are worried will will not reach our goal, but honestly, I know we can do it if it is the Lord's will.

We had a Zone Training Meeting this last Friday, and we went over our current goals. Essentially we had decreased by 6 baptisms. One of the Assistants, Elder Robison asked if some of the districts thought they could find one or two more people to try and make up for the 6, and without hesitation the Sisters cheerfully agreed, and said they would do their best. Honestly the sisters in this zone are powerful. They have been so faithful, diligent, and obedient that they have truly been expecting the miracles to happen. Let me relate one such experience, there was a mama in their area who had been taught by missionaries for months, but unable to be baptized because the husband disagreed. Literally that same Friday as zone meeting, they ran into her on the street and she told them that her husband started reading the Book of Mormon with her and now approved of her baptism and wanted the discussions himself. They right then asked her if she wanted to be baptized the next day, she agreed and was interviewed and then baptized. Truly a miracle. The Lord really has prepared people, we simply need to find them.

In other news I cut a super powerful onion. Like it was the most powerful onion I have ever encountered. The pain in my eyes was so great that I could barely see and I couldn't help but cry out in pain things like "WHY IS THIS HAPPENENING?!" "THIS IS JUST AN ONION" "AAAAAHHH"

After I finished I went to tell the other Elders that I was done and they were shocked that I was actually crying. They thought I was joking.

Now back to more spiritual matters: I've recently learned a bit about Zion.

I was talking to my companion, Elder Mwetu, about how exciting it would be to hear the Prophet announce a temple to be built in Independence, Missouri. D&C 57:1-3 We talked about the implications and our excitement about Zion. I've thought about this a lot more lately. I learned why it wasn't built the first time. I've remembered all of the terrible trials going on in the world today. And then I realized, we are not yet Zion. In that we are not yet "the pure in heart". We can pray for a temple to be built, and we can pray for the Second Coming to happen, but we are not yet ready for Zion. The hearts of the people are impure. As 2 Nephi 28 says, Satan is raging in the hearts of men. Hearts are failing for fear. And the sad thing is, in general we are at ease.

My beloved family and friends, do all that you can to be pure in heart. Pray to the Lord for added strength. Love those around you. Do what is right even if it is "uncool". Have integrity, charity, virtue, faith, and hope. Hope for a better world. Hope for a world worthy of Zion. Build up Zion where you are, be "Pure in Heart" in your homes, your neighborhoods, everywhere. The Kingdom of the Devil will shake. The ways of the world will pass. When this happens, please be purified. You need not understand everything. I do not know everything, neither did the prophet Nephi. If such a great man as Nephi didn't know everything, you don't need to either. God loves you. He loves your family. He loves your neighbors. He loves the inconsiderate drivers on the freeway. He loves everyone. The world does not love you. The world will try to change you when the new fashion trend starts.

Do not judge others, there is no need. Forgive those who have wronged you, everyone makes mistakes. There is no good in harboring a grudge, finding fault with others, or blaming others or God for the problems in your life. Things happen, the best thing we can do is learn from it and grow.
When you start to sink, do what Peter did. Cry out for the Lord to save you. He is already reaching out. And then when he catches hold of you, don't just give up. Peter still had to walk back with Jesus into the boat. The point is, he had a much easier time returning to the boat when holding onto the Savior. If he hadn't reached out for Christ's hands, or if Christ "wasn't there", he likely could have drowned.

I would much rather reach out and pray the Lord will grab hold of my hand and save me, than think he may not be there. Hope is always better than despair.

I hope I have not been too forward with my words. Honestly I just started typing and couldn't stop. But just know that I love you. And Jesus Christ loves you.

Until next week, have a wonderful time. Stay Strong.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Fifty: Transfer 9 out of 17

This transfer is a milestone. But don't worry, I have much more work to do.

Hello my Loved Ones,

First of all, the left is Brother Madzira, the Middle is Elder Ngobi who was transferred to Bulawayo, and the right is the Brother to Brother Madzira.

And now for transfer news, the mission received like 21 new missionaries. Which is crazy. More on that later.

I am still Zone Leader of Harare East with Elder Mwetu. Our zone now has 22 proselyting missionaries. 12 Sisters and 10 Elders With the Assistants to the President, we have another 2 Elders to bring it up to 24.

We have surprisingly only one new missionary being trained in our zone, but that is because we have 5 other companionships finishing up training. One of the zones, Gweru, has literally every companionship (except Zone Leaders) Training this transfer.

With these 21 new missionaries, all of them and their trainers need to stay in Harare until Thursday-ish. So the mission needs to accomodate 42 missionaries at the transfer house and other selected houses. So for most of this week we will be helping with logistics as zone leaders.

Let me tell you all about Brother Madzira. He is scheduled to be baptized on the 24th, assuming all goes well with their civil marriage. Otherwise, he would already have been in the water. He is so prepared. When we visited Brother Madzira on Friday, he had a question from his Conference Liahona. He asked us about proxy baptisms, what they were, why they are needed, etc. We tried to teach him but then we discovered that we had somehow missed teaching him the Plan of Salvation. We explained briefly an overview of the plan (how it talks about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going), and left him the pamphlet promising him we would discuss it next we met.

When we returned on Sunday he said he read through the pamphlet and everything made so much sense. He had no questions except clarification on requirements to bring a name to the temple. He then told us he was disappointed because he didn't have much information on his anscetors and he feels sympathy for them and "want[s] to help all of them." This man is PREPARED. He is still reading in the book of Mosiah, but we found out he slowed his progression so that he could go back and review some of what he has already read. He was reading again in Jacob last I asked.

He had to miss church because of a neighborhood meeting of sorts, but his Daughters both made it to church alone (his wife is out of town till this week). Essentially, the whole family is progressing really well. They are having family prayers, and they are all coming to church as able.

Another impressive thing. A couple weeks ago the Priesthood Class discussed home-teaching, and how it needs to be done. When we visited him later that evening, he told us that he had actually just got home because on the way home he felt strongly he needed to visit one of his friends. So he did not questioning it. He wasn't sure why he did, or what made him feel it, but what he described to us was a prompting. And he followed it. It is amazing.

Anyway, I'm sorry for the long paragraphs. I just love this work. Anyway, know I am doing well. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I love you all, have a great week.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Nine: So Great Faith Have I Never Seen Among Missionaries

"Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

Hello my dear loved ones,

Let me just start by saying I love it here. I have seen truly miracles happening.

In fact, one of the companionships in our zone one night called us to share with us their list of over 20 miracles and tender mercies that they saw throughout that day.

As I mentioned before, our goal for September Baptisms is 64. A very lofty goal, especially since our zone managed to achieve about 20 in august. However Miracles have not ceased because their faith is strong. One day we called all of our missionaries to see how many baptisms were scheduled for each weekend. The number exceeded the goal. Of course there are fall-throughs, but the Lord's hand is in his work. I have no doubt if we are faithful miracles will continue.

To show you just how diligent some of our missionaries are, This is one of the sister's planners:

And this one is mine:

These are their shoes, notice the dust that shows they are walking:

And here are our shoes.

Ultimately, everything is good. Really good. Today is MLC Monday, so tomorrow all of the Zone Leaders meet for the Mission Leadership Council to discuss goals and struggles and other important stuff.

He are some pictures of Pastor Domingo, The Enthusiastic, Eccentric, Evangelist of Eastview.

But otherwise things are well. Elder Guajardo was Emergency Transfered back to Bindura because another missionary was medically released, and so his companion Elder Ngobi has been in a tri-panionship with Elder Mwetu and I.

Have a wonderful week, I love you all. Thank you muchly for the thoughts and prayers. They are felt and appreciated.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Eight: A Lot of Faith. And Banana Bread

Hello my Family and Loved ones,

This week has been a lot of great things. First of all, our zone is very faithful. We asked them to double their personal goals for baptisms. Most of them did, some maintained. But our prediction for the month of September was 38. Our goal is now 64. And we have the faith that we can achieve.

But this is so wonderful, because even if we do not, we will still likely exceed what we first thought. It is wonderful to see the missionary work progressing.

Now for some pictures. This is a part of our area. (For an idea of what it looks like)

It is phase 10 of 24ish. We have a big area. We mostly proselyte in phases 2-6

These kids live at or near the members where we park our car everyday.

They love us.

This is a well that is being dug. But they hit a rock they need to blast.

And this is today in the mission office.

We had to all come to the mission office to email because of the things happening in town. We are safe, all is well.
In other news, I made banana bread that people loved. In fact they loved it so much that they pleaded for me to make more. I brought some to the mission office and it was devoured by everyone. It was wonderful.
I hope all of you are doing well. Time is out for Preparation Day, so I will let you know more things next week. I love you all.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Seven: Maize Cake and Beef

It's like sadza but thicker. Basically it is compressed maize meal. 

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week has had a lot of things. I unfortunately didn't take many pictures. But here is a picture from the Baptism the other missionaries in our branch had. 

(I presided as zone leader and gave the talks on baptism and holy ghost. And closing remarks.) 

Other than that, this week had many wonderful things happen. Mostly on Sunday. 

So remember that man I mentioned last week? Who read the Book of Mormon and such? Yesterday he disappointing us by showing up just after Sacrament Meeting. But we weren't disappointed for long. Because not only did he bring some of his family, but he also brought another of our investigators who had never come to church, and another neighbor we never met. In total there were 6 people that he brought. This guy is powerful. He is called Brother Madzira. 

We later went to his house to visit with his family and meet his wife. We asked him about his Book of Mormon reading, he was about to start Words of Mormon. That is 143 pages, 6 books, in one week. 

This guy makes me so happy to be a missionary. 

Other things that happened yesterday (Sunday): 

We felt very strongly that we needed to leave for our areas after lunch. As we drove, we passed a guy pushing his car. My thoughts went to "I wonder if he needs help" and then immediately I got distracted wondering how push-starting a manual car works. A couple minutes later, when we were just up the road, my companion turned to me and asked "What was your first thought when you saw that man?" I knew what he was saying so I simply responded "Turn around, we are going back". Sure enough, Elder Ngobi in the back seat had the same thought. When we arrived we found the man with his wife and their baby. We were able to help them and got their information for the Elders in their area. 

Later that evening, when we were picking up Elders Ngobi and Guajardo to return home, we stopped and they got in the car. Elder Guajardo then said "It smells like Petrol (gasoline) in here." 

Immediately the entire car started smelling like petrol. We parked just up the street and found that our car was leaking petrol. A lot of it. (Problem with the pump or something, a pipe disconnected or burst or something). So we waited for a tow truck. While we were waiting, an investigator we had been teaching, who had moved, happened to pass by. She moved to the other Elders' area, and they were right with us. We were able to pass on the information and the mama also gave a referral of her sister. Truly we were in the right place at the right time. 

Also, one of the Zone Leaders of the Harare Marimba Zone, Elder Brooks (you may remember him from my MTC group), shared with me last Monday about a challenge he and President Mkhabelab came up with for his zone. The challenge was to double the baptismal goals for September. 

Something that would require purification of missionaries, and doubling of diligence and obedience. Essentially Exact Obedience to Expect Miracles. Well he share that challenge with me, and so we extended it to our zone. 

At the Zone Training Meeting people were shocked at the thought. But most of them agreed right there. Our original idea for the zone was 38-39 baptisms for September. Double that would be 76-78. Currently we have 54 baptismal dates extended and 62 investigators at Sacrament Meeting yesterday. And September hasn't started yet. The first thing some of our Sisters said when they saw us today was "We are going to get those 8 baptisms. It is all we can talk about lately." 

The Missionaries in our zone are so powerful, and they have such great faith and desires for good Some of them have over tripled their goal in extending baptismal dates. I know that even if they don't reach the goal, the Lord will be pleased with them. 

It feels so good to feel like a profitable servant of the Lord. I don't mean with numbers, even if we baptized no one I would still feel profitable. Because we are increasing in diligence. We are being more exactly obedient. We are serving more with our heart, mind, might and strength. Our joy is great in the service of the Lord. 

I know that truly this is His work. Without his hand in this work, we are simply salesmen. He is the true head of the missionary effort. 

I love you all, thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts. You all make me happy.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Six: Not a Korokoza Pastor

Hello everyone back home,

First of all let me say, I forgot to explain what "On-Call Office Elders" means.

Essentially, as Zone Leaders in Harare, we can be called to the office at any time. In fact, President Mkhabela told me he made me close to the office so that I could be called in if my help was needed. This happened the first day of the transfer. During our Companionship Study, President called and asked us to come to the office to help. When we arrived, we found out that the assignment was already taken care of, so we returned to the area.

Now for this week, a "Korokoza" is a type of gold-panner. Who goes into old mines to sift and look for left-over gold.

We met a very eccentric man called "Pastor Domingo" who claims that he is not a korokoza pastor. among other wonderfully quotable phrases. He calls us the "Men of God" and tells us to "Plunder them from hell, to plant them in Heaven".

And before things get on a serious note, look what Elder Guajardo can do:

Yes, that is really real.

Now one day we arrived at a members house and witnessed something amazing.

I feel that the hymn we were listening to makes it all the better.

Also we found a hat in our car.

And this is the border between our Area and Tafara. The left side of the picture is Tafara, the Right is Eastview (technically its all Eastview, but our branch boundary is on the right)

Now on more serious note.
We have met a man so prepared for the gospel, that it warms my heart. We taught him about the restoration of the gospel on Thursday evening, and then when we returned on Saturday he asked us about "Mormon" and "Joseph Smith History" So that night we taught him about the Book of Mormon.

When we offered him a copy and asked if he would read it and pray to know if it was true, he looked us in the eyes and said: "You mean I can read it myself? I don't need to just believe? I can really ask God for revelation?" We shared with him again the verse in James 1:5. And he seemed so happy. Right then we asked him that if he felt the book was true, if he would be baptized. He committed right there and promised to come to church the next day.

As we attended church, we were disappointed to find that none of our investigators showed up. However, near the end of Sacrament Meeting, we got a phone call. It was this Brother who said "I'm at the shops right now, which way is the church?" We stepped outside to welcome him, Book of Mormon in hand, to the end of Sacrament Meeting and the classes.

When we visited him that evening, first of all, he still had his Book of Mormon in hand. But secondly as we approached his house, we saw that he was showing it to someone else.

He informed us that he discovered he had taken a long path to church, and that he was shown a shorter, more direct way for next week. We asked about his Book of Mormon reading and he told us that he had read the first 5 chapters of each of the first books, through Mosiah. All within 24 hours. He then asked us if it would be okay for him to bring some other people with him to Church next week. We assured him that it is more than okay, and also informed him that he could invite them to meet with us as well.

This man is truly one who was prepared to receive us. In fact, he made our entire week. We had some struggles this week with zone leader responsibilities, and appointments falling through. But though our hearts were depressed, we bore with patience our afflictions, and the Lord gave us success.
I truly know that this work is the Lords, and without him we cannot have any lasting success. Truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives for the better. I know He lives and loves each one of us.

Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Five: Transfer 8 of 17

Dear everyone who reads this,

Thank you for your interest in my missionary work and life.

I want you to know that things are very well. I am happy, I am healthy, and I am working.

This week we had a lot of things happening. First of all though, I left Bindura. I am now serving in the Harare East Zone in a branch called Eastview. I've heard great things.

(the Birds continued to peck the window each morning, and no, it isn't about warmth, since the door was wide open once and they didn't come in)

Also, it went from Winter to Summer in one week.

I said goodbye to many people, some pictures will be included:

Look at me, don't I look so happy to say goodbye.

Also, we had a zone soccer match in Stondon (spelling unsure), the new area that has had crazy number of baptisms.

Also I just took a lot of pictures, so sorry about that.
Anyway, I am now in Harare again, but this time out of the Office, so it will be completely different. But I am looking much forward to it.
Have a wonderful week all of you, I love you.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Four: On-Call Office Elders

Dear loved ones,

So sorry to everyone, I failed to give a lot of details about transfers last time.

I am Zone Leader of Harare East with Elder Mwetu from Kenya.

Also fun-fact, I am living in the same house as Elder Guajardo, who was trained in Bindura the last two transfers. So we are getting along well.

This is the last Zone picture we had in Bindura

People slept on the Kombi to Harare from Bindura.

And this is our housemates. My companion is driving, and the backseat has Elders Guajardo and Ngobi.

In other news, in our zone there are 5 trainers with their trainees. New missionaries as of this transfer. Some of the sisters are jokers.

So before we had a district meeting, one of the trainers called to ask if her companion could give her welcome testimony in Korean, her native tongue, because "she doesn't speak any English at all". She also asked us to look for a Korean Book of Mormon. And then all of us in the house (the District and Zone Leaders) started to get worried. We were brainstorming how we could help this missionary learn english and shona. We found a language study guide, my companion was planning a zone fast, etc.

We went to our district meeting, they arrive after us, no greetings were done. During the hymns this sister was mumbling, and we got more and more worried. Then Elder Ngobi, the District leader asked every missionary to say what they like about their companion. When this Korean sister spoke, all of the elders got wide-eyed and the sisters erupted in laughter. She speaks perfect english. In fact she knows hardly any Korean.

Now let me describe our area. My companion is convinced there is a million people. I'm not so sure, but its possible. There are at least 30,000 houses, and an average of at least 4 in each. There is no electricity because it is still new, so everyone uses solar or candles. There are no paved roads, only sand, and planted gardens/trees. Since there is nothing really to block wind, it gets super windy. We actually saw a sandstorm once. The sun is hot, the mornings and nights are cold. It feels like a very populated desert. But I love it nonetheless.

Have a wonderful week everyone, the gospel is true. Heavenly Father loves you. And Christ lives and loves you as well.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Forty-Three: Expect Miracles

Hello my Loved ones,

This week things are going well. Very well in fact.

There is the saying "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." Recently someone reminded me about that saying but then added the profound statement "Expect miracles."

That phrase has been written in my planner. As I strive to keep the rules and be as obedient as I can, I have been expecting the blessings and miracles that come from it.

Now let me tell you about this week.

First of all, one of the Branches in our zone had 14 Baptisms, including a wedding. Another had 3 baptisms. Which brought our 18 of 16(goal) to 35 of 16.

Secondly, The birds have continued. Without missing a morning. The same two birds keep pecking and chirping.

Thirdly, the mission is re-emphasizing certain rules which had previously been lax or even ignored, and so I am certainly looking forward to the increase in productivity and blessings.

Fourthly, I took a lot of pictures, however i cannot upload them today because of a slow connection.

Fifthly, We went to Arcadia Dam this morning/afternoon, as a zone activity. It was pretty fun.

C) I took a double selfie. This is half of it.

Secondly, I love you all. I am grateful to be serving in the Lord's Mission. I know that without Him, none of this is possible.

Have a wonderful week.
-Elder Wilcken